Frequently Asked Questions
Does proper repair mean no Diminished Value?
A: No, when the damage was the fault of another, the loss in value of the post-repair vehicle is legally recoverable in every state.
Is Diminished Value ever prohibited by state law?
A: No, Diminished Value is legal in all 50 states. From state to state the standards may differ.
Does the age of the damaged vehicle disqualify it from having Diminished Value?
A: No, vehicle age is a major factor in the actual claim value because age is a factor in the pre-loss value and therefore the amount of justified Diminished Value, however age alone is never an exclusion. Valuable old collector vehicles can have significant Diminished Value in some circumstances.
Do I need a certified expert to establish the loss in value amount?
A: Almost always because an insurance company is likely to agree that a loss amount claimed is valid when it is consistent with other claim settlements and prior litigation awards. The track record of the chosen expert is the key to the lost value amount being appropriate and recoverable.
When do I need an attorney?
A: Almost never and only as a last resort when exposed to litigation. Claimant attorney expense is not normally recoverable from an insurance company under the law in a third party Diminished Value claim. The expense will be out of the claimant's pocket. When the Diminished Value claim is part of a bodily injury claim an attorney can be helpful as part of the overall settlement process. Attorneys often do not take their cut of the Diminished Value recovery if negotiated up front.
Is an inspection process required?
A: Not necessarily, however it can be a good idea. This could be an unnecessary out of pocket expense just to have the inspector to say "yes, the repair is proper and up to industry standards." If the repairs are substandard, that is an entirely different issue and needs to be dealt with differently or as an addition to regular Diminished Value.
How accurate are dealer purchase or trade in quotes?
A: These are almost never recognized alone by insurance companies as acceptable evidence of lost value, however they can be good in support of the evidence from a certified expert evaluation. Dealers obviously have their own agenda regarding pricing at all levels and therefore their expertise is suspect to insurance companies as diminished value expertise.
What about the situation of a Diminished Value claim with one's own insurance company where the insured was at fault?
A: This is usually prohibited by the insurance policy contract in almost all 50 states. The claim must be against another at fault where there are no or minimal policy or legal restrictions.
Can there be a claim against an at fault person with no insurance?
A: Yes, however collecting may be difficult or impossible from a person that does not have insurance coverage.
Is a Diminished Value claim worth the expense and trouble to pursue?
A: That is an individual business decision. Sometimes the answer is no, not worth it. The recovery amount can be accurately predicted by an expert and weighed against the effort risk and expense of the process in order to make a sensible risk versus reward business decision.