The financial implications of an auto accident can be devastating. Repair and medical bills can be burdensome. Even after you repair your car, if you try to sell or trade it in, you will find its value is lower than it would have been before the accident. This is the result of the diminished value a vehicle has after an accident.
Diminished value is the reduction in a car’s resale value after it has been damaged in a wreck.
Regardless of the quality of parts used to repair your automobile, vehicles that have been in accidents are worth less than those that aren’t. Many don’t realize this until it is too late and are no longer able to sell their car for the same amount as they initially thought.
While it seems unfair to lose value for your car after a wreck, especially if you aren’t at fault, a diminished value claim can help compensate the money you aren’t able to recover.
What is a Diminished Value Claim?
A diminished value claim is a request for a sum of money to compensate for the difference between your car’s value before the accident. Whenever you are making this claim, you are trying to recover from the inherent lowering of market value.
Diminished value exists because a car that has been in an accident is more likely to break down or have other maintenance problems than the same vehicle that hasn’t been through a wreck.
What Variables Affect My Diminished Value Claim?
If you pursue a diminished value claim, there are a few factors to consider. Any property damage claims can be challenging to work through, and the longer you wait to take action, the harder it will be to receive maximum compensation. It’s essential to move as quickly as you can. Here are some of the most significant factors to a diminished value claim:
- Responsibility for the accident: Responsibility for the accident is the starting point of a diminished value claim. If you are at fault, there is a low possibility you will recover your vehicle’s diminished value. If the accident was not your fault, then you can explore your options for a diminished value claim. However, even if you aren’t at fault, most insurance companies do not automatically add compensation for diminished claims. You will have to pursue this yourself.
- The insurance policy of the at-fault driver: The only way you will receive compensation for diminished value is through the at-fault driver’s insurance. If their policy covers the reduced market price, the process will be easy. If not, be prepared for a longer proceeding.
- If the at-fault driver is uninsured: Missouri has an estimated 14 percent of uninsured drivers. While Missouri requires you to have uninsured motorist insurance, it only covers your bodily injury. Any diminished value coverage will have to come from a third-party legal action or if you have collision coverage on your policy it may pay for the diminished value.
- The residence of the at-fault driver: If they are from a state that requires diminution compensation, then you will be compensated for the diminished value of your car. Missouri does not require this type of coverage. In Missouri, you can make a claim up to five years after the date of the accident.
- The value of the car after the accident: If your vehicle is an older model and had a low cash value before the accident, pursuing a diminished value claim may not be beneficial for you. If your car is brand new, then the diminution of value will be higher.
How Do I File a Diminished Value Claim?
Whenever you are trying to file a diminution claim, you need to have a plan in place. Be thorough in your research and evidence gathering process. Insurance companies need proof of a loss.
- Talk with your insurance agent. Whenever you are looking at submitting a diminished value claim to the at-fault insurer, talk with your insurance agent. While your agent can’t do any processing for you, it’s good to get advice to make sure you know how to handle it.
- Get an assessment of your vehicle. If you see that the disparity is large enough, look at getting an official appraisal of your car. The evaluation will give you clear evidence that the accident has diminished your car’s value. You may also be able to request a written statement from a car dealer that lists out your loss in value.
- Talk with an auto accident lawyer. Having an experienced auto accident lawyer in your corner is a great way to move forward with your claim. An attorney can show you how the process works and how to proceed. You can receive sound legal advice on what you should and shouldn’t pursue in court.
Have you recently been in an accident due to no fault of your own? Are you looking for quality legal advice on how to proceed with your claim? Contact the attorneys at Tolbert Beadle. Our lawyers will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Want more tips for dealing with auto accidents? Visit the Tolbert Beadle blog for more information.