You can make an insurance claim for the “diminished value” of your car by contacting the insurance company for the driver who was at fault. If the accident was your fault, you can make a diminished value claim with your own insurance company.
A diminished value claim happens after your car has been repaired. It pays you the difference between what your car was worth before the accident and what it is worth now, with its accident history. The more damage your car suffered, the higher your diminished value is likely to be.
How do I start a diminished value insurance claim?
Essentially, your vehicle damage claim has two parts. Right after the accident, you can make a claim for the damage to your car. You will take your car to a body shop for repairs, and the insurance company will pay for it. That’s your vehicle damage claim.
After the repairs are done, you must contact the insurance company again to make a diminished value claim. The insurance company probably will not tell you this. You should ask the insurance company to send an appraiser out to evaluate the diminished value of your car.
What can I expect from the insurance company?
Insurance companies operate for profit, and they look for ways to avoid paying out money in claims. That’s why the insurance company probably will not tell you that you have a right to make a diminished value claim. Any property damage settlement they offer you is unlikely to include your car’s diminished value.
Insurance companies will also try to minimize the amount of your diminished value. They may tell you they use a formula to calculate diminished value. You can bet that this formula favors the insurance company. It almost certainly does not truly reflect how much less your car is worth because of the accident. Georgia law does not require insurance companies to use any formula for calculating diminished value. This gives you room to negotiate.
Insurance companies have one more tactic that you should know about. When they pay for your vehicle damage, you may be asked to sign a release that says that you cannot make any further claims relating to the accident. Never sign anything or cash an insurance company check until you have finished with your diminished value claim. Otherwise, you may be unable to collect anything for your car’s diminished value.
How can I protect myself?
Do your own research. Diminished value isn’t an abstract concept, it’s a real-world issue. If you try to sell your car, you will get less money for it simply because people are reluctant to buy a car that has been damaged in an accident. Even if the repairs are perfect, an accident can take thousands of dollars off your car’s value.
There are several ways to research your car’s diminished value. You can look up its value online at Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds.com and compare it with listings of similar cars for sale in your area that have been involved in accidents. You can ask a couple of used car dealers what your car is worth, and then ask them how much less it is worth if it has been in an accident. Or you can hire your own appraiser to calculate the diminished value. When researching car values, always look at values locally, not in faraway states.
Once you have a good idea of your car’s diminished value, compare it to the amount the insurance company has offered. You can use your research to negotiate a higher insurance settlement. Remember, you are entitled to your car’s diminished value even if you don’t have any plans to sell your car.
If you suffered injuries as well as vehicle damage, a car accident lawyer in Atlanta Georgia can help you with your diminished value claim as well as a claim to recover money for your injuries. This takes stress off you and lets you focus on your recovery.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our law firm has decades of experience helping car accident victims recover money to pay for their injuries, property damage and diminished value of their cars. We don’t charge you anything unless we win money for you. Let us give you a FREE, no obligation consultation to explain your rights and answer your questions. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.