Repairing Your Car

Filing A Diminished Claim Value After An Auto Accident

With an estimated 5.25 million automobile accidents occurring each year, there is a possibility that you will be involved in a crash each time you get behind the wheel. An auto accident can leave you with a battered and broken vehicle.

Repairs can be made to restore your car to a functional condition, but these repairs can have a lasting effect on the value of your vehicle. If you don't want to lose money on your vehicle investment, it may be beneficial to file a diminished auto value claim following your accident.

Determining fault is the first step.

Most insurance companies don't allow you to file a diminished value claim against your own policy. If you were at fault for causing the accident, you may have to eat the loss in your vehicle's value that results from accident repairs. Being hit by another driver may qualify you to file a diminished value claim with that driver's insurance company to seek compensation for your loss.

Invest in a professional appraisal.

You will need to prove that your vehicle has lost value as a direct result of the accident you were involved in if you want to file a successful diminished value claim. Use the Internet to generate a value estimation for your vehicle before the accident, then rely on a used car dealer to get an appraisal for your vehicle in its post-repair condition.

Since most used cars are sold back to dealers, having a letter from a dealer that states that the accident you were involved in has affected the value of your vehicle may serve as sufficient evidence to support your diminished value claim.

Be prepared to negotiate.

As with any insurance settlement, the amount of money an insurance company is willing to pay out for a diminished value claim is open to negotiation. File your initial claim for the difference between your car's pre- and post-accident appraisal values.

This maximum starting point will give you the most leverage when it comes to negotiating a suitable settlement with an insurance company following your accident.

Seek professional help when needed.

If you run into any resistance from the insurance company when filing a diminished value claim, you might need to seek the help of a professional in recovering the lost value of your car.

Companies such as Chicago Auto Appraisers that specialize in filing these types of claims can provide you with sample letters to submit to the insurance company and actionable steps that you can take to get results when filing your claim.