How to File a Diminished Value Claim in Georgia

Filing a diminished value claim in Georgia can help you get back some of the money you lost in an auto accident, but the process isn't always easy.
Written by Jessica Gibson
Edited by Amy Bobinger
After any kind of car accident, even a minor one, the value of your car decreases. However, if you file a diminished value claim with the at-fault driver's
car insurance
company, you can get that value back.
  • Georgia
    is a diminished value state—car owners who have lost value because of an accident can file a diminished value claim to recoup their losses. 
  • In Georgia, car insurance laws state that you can file for three types of diminished value claims—repair, immediate, or inherent. 
  • To file a diminished value claim, determine if you’re eligible and contact the at-fault party’s auto insurance provider for further compensation.

What is a diminished value claim?

When you're less than 50% to blame for a car accident in Georgia, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company to pay for your medical bills and car repairs. For vehicles registered in Georgia, drivers must have at least the following insurance coverage limits through their car insurance policy (the state’s minimum insurance requirements):
It’s fine, even recommended, to have additional coverage like comprehensive coverage. These are simply the minimum amounts of car insurance coverage required by the state.
However, even if you successfully have your vehicle repairs covered, the accident itself will reduce the overall value of your car. If your car has been damaged in an accident, you may be able to file a claim for diminished value under Georgia law. Diminished value is the difference between the pre-accident resale value of your vehicle and its current value after repairs.

The three types of diminished value

In Georgia, there are three different kinds of diminished value:
  • Repair-related diminished value: Refers to when your car's value has gone down because of faulty repairs.
  • Immediate diminished value: Refers to if you haven't repaired your car yet
  • Inherent diminished value: Refers to when you've repaired the car but it's still worth less than before.
The term "diminished value" in Georgia typically refers to inherent diminished value. Therefore, unless otherwise noted, and for simplicity’s sake, that is what we are referring to throughout this guide.
Still confused about diminished value? Learn more in our article
“Diminished value claims, explained”

What’s the difference between diminished value and depreciation?

The value of your vehicle will naturally decrease over time and with regular use—this is known as depreciation. However, the value will drop significantly more if your car has been in an accident—and that’s diminished value. Even after being repaired, vehicles damaged in collisions are never quite as sturdy as they previously were, which is reflected in their lower value. 
Here’s an example: if you're in the market for a used car, you wouldn’t expect to pay the same for a 2012 Honda Civic that has 125,000 miles and has never been in an accident than you would for a 2012 Honda Civic with 125,000 miles and multiple accidents in its history. These are essentially the same car, but the latter vehicle is worth less because it has previously been damaged.

What’s the difference between a diminished value claim and a diminished value appraisal?

The first step in submitting a diminished value claim with an insurance provider is to obtain a diminished value appraisal. To file your claim successfully, you must demonstrate that your car has lost some value—and there must be a dollar amount to quantify that loss.
Getting a professional appraisal from a used car dealer or automotive expert is highly recommended—some even offer free consultations. However, you can come to a rough calculation using Kelley Blue Book's market value estimates.

How to file a Georgia diminished value claim 

Submitting a diminished value claim in Georgia is similar to
filing other types of insurance claims
—but you must do your homework before contacting your insurer.
Keep in mind that if you do not meet the requirements for a diminished value payout, your claim may be rejected. This could happen to your car if it:
  • Did not sustain substantial damage as a result of the accident (typically less than $500)
  • Wasn't worth much to start with (less than $7,000)
  • Travels more than 30,000 miles a year
  • Is at least 10 years old
  • Has been written off as a total loss
  • Has been in several accidents that have done severe damage
Even if these don’t apply to your car, the insurance company for the negligent driver will ultimately decide whether or not your claim for diminished value as a third party is valid. Either way, filing a diminished value claim won’t affect your deductible, insurance rates, or auto insurance coverage.
The steps involved in filing a claim for diminished value are as follows:
  1. Show that the value of your car has gone down. You can use the free formula below to figure out the diminished value, but it's better to get as much professional documentation as you can. Bring your car to a used car dealer or someone else who knows about depreciation, and if you can,
    get more than one repair quote
  2. File your claim. Though
    filing a claim
    with your own insurance company is technically an option if your auto insurance policy includes property damage coverage like
    collision coverage
    , in most cases, it is more beneficial to file a claim with the other driver's insurance company.
  3. Wait. You'll have to wait for the Georgia car insurance adjuster to review and make a decision on the diminished value claim.
Your claim may be rejected even if you take these measures. In that case, you can seek the help of a personal injury lawyer or car accident lawyer to file a claim in small claims court—although you should carefully consider whether doing so is worth your time and energy.

Determining diminished market value

The 17c formula is used by most professionals to determine how much a car is worth after being in an accident. Although it is not a perfect formula, it can help you figure out the estimated lost value of your vehicle to determine whether or not it is worthwhile to submit a diminished value claim.
Find the vehicle's pre-accident value by inputting its details like make, model, year, mileage, and condition into a tool like
Kelley Blue Book
. The base loss value is found by multiplying the car's value by .10, or 10%.
Once you've determined the base loss amount, you'll need to multiply it by two because of your vehicle's damage and mileage. You can then use these damage multipliers:
  • 1 if the car has structural damage
  • 0.75 if the car has major damage to the body or structure
  • 0.5 if the car has moderate damage to the body or structure
  • 0.25 if the car has minor damage to the body or structure
  • 0 if the car has no structural damage
Finally, take the answer and multiply it by one of the numbers below:
  • 1 if you have a mileage between 0 - 19,999
  • 0.80 if you have a mileage between 20,000 - 39,999
  • 0.60 if your mileage is between 40,000 - 59,999
  • 0.40 if your mileage is between 60,000 - 79,999
  • 0.20 if your mileage is between 80,000 - 99,999
  • 0 if your mileage is above 100,000

What’s the statute of limitations for a diminished value claim in Georgia?

After an accident, Georgia drivers have four years to file a claim for diminished value. Any claims submitted after that time will most likely be denied.

The bottom line

Georgia allows diminished value claims, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to file one successfully. Insurance companies frequently deny these claims. However, policyholders with rare or luxury cars that obtain a professional appraisal prior to filing a claim will have higher rates of success.


Insurance companies cover the cost of diminished value if you qualify. You’ll need to file a claim for the value, whether or not you were at fault for the accident.
You or your lawyer can subtract your car’s current value from its value before the car accident. There are handy calculators you can use to determine this amount.
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