When you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s essential to remember that the damage done to your vehicle has decreased its value. Even after your vehicle is repaired, it still won’t be worth as much as you may like when you try to sell or trade it in. This being said, it’s imperative to have a good understanding of diminished value claims.
To successfully file a diminished value claim, it’s crucial to take the following steps:
- Be certain of who’s at fault – This is of utmost importance because if you are at fault for the accident, you cannot file a diminished value claim, no exceptions.
- Be sure that your vehicle is newer and more expensive – Simply put, if your vehicle is older or costs under $10,000, you’re not going to get enough compensation to make filing a claim worth it. I recommend filing a diminished value claim for a vehicle that is two years old or less.
- Make sure that your insurance company pays to fix your vehicle – Do not ask the insurance company of the at-fault party to pay for your vehicle damages; otherwise, you likely won’t be able to file a claim. When getting damages fixed through your own insurance, you will be entitled to more money to fix your vehicle. The only downside to this is that you will have to pay your deductible, but in the long term, it will work out better for you.
- Do not let your insurance company be compensated by the at-fault party’s insurance – Your insurance company, once they have paid to fix your vehicle, will go to the at-fault party’s insurance to get the money paid back to them. It is very important that you tell your insurance that it does NOT have permission to do this. If your insurance company gets paid through the at-fault insurance, they get the money that could be owed to you from your diminished value claim.
- Get your vehicle appraised by an independent appraiser – You need to have this information available to present to your insurance company to send to the at-fault insurance.
When you have taken these steps and have had your vehicle appraised, it is common for insurance companies to argue if your vehicle is worth what you have said it is. Because of the many steps involved and the inevitable fight involved with diminished claims, I recommend having an experienced attorney on your side when filing the claim.
For more information on diminished value claims, visit our iTunes page to listen to my “Diminished Value Claims” episode of my weekly talk show.