Car accidents often result in bodily injury and property damage, lowering the value of your car. Even though it might seem like you have no recourse, a car accident does not necessarily mean you’ve lost your car’s value. By filing a diminished value claim, you can get back a car’s value lost following an accident.
But how does the process work, and what can you do to help make sure you have success when filing a claim?
What is a diminished value car insurance claim?
If you find yourself involved in an accident with your car, then your vehicle might have a diminished value after the repair process. The difference in the value of your car before the accident and after its repaired represents the diminished value of a car.
Fortunately, in many states you can file a diminished value claim with the at-fault party’s insurance, and even your own insurance in some states. Every state except Michigan allows you to file a diminished value claim with the insurance of the at-fault driver, and if you live in the states of Georgia, Kansas, and Washington, you can file such a claim using your own collision coverage.
If the other party does not have insurance, the following states also allow you to file a diminished value claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
How to file a diminished value car insurance claim
Proving the reduction in your car’s value following an accident and getting the other party’s insurance to pay up represents the hardest part about a diminished value claim. And while making a diminished value car insurance claim might seem difficult at first, by following the following procedures you might experience more success when making a claim.
- Trade-in value letter: According to carinsurance.com, attorneys recommend getting a trade-in value letter stating that the car has a lower market value due to the damage suffered in an accident, even after repairs.
- Approaching the at-fault party’s insurance: Approaching the at-fault party’s insurance might require some persistence on your part, and you might need to approach them multiple times to get a definite answer. In addition, don’t accept outright the amount the other party’s insurance company presents to you. Make sure it’s the right amount first.
An inspection by a automobile damage claim company, such as ASI Claims and Collision Claims give your diminished value claim more credence and might help you get the settlement you are looking for.
- Go to court: A final step involves taking the offending party’s insurance company to court. The biggest part in deciding whether to do so or not rests in the amount of the claim. While many claims might fall underneath the threshold for taking the case to small-claims court, if you need to hire a lawyer, you should consider letting the claim go. For a newer or more expensive car, though, you should consider taking the matter up with the courts if necessary.
Making sure that you get the most out of your car includes protecting its value, even following an accident. While sometimes the at-fault party’s insurance covers the diminished value of your car, you might need to rely upon your own collision or uninsured motorist coverage to cover it.