After an accident no car will ever be the same. We all know this. This is why after an accident goes on CARFAX, the car’s market value drops sharply. On average, $6,000. But it can be much more for newer, low-mileage or luxury vehicles. I’ve seen drops as large as $70,000 for the likes of Ferraris and everything in between. Usually, the car owner only discovers this nasty surprise after they go to trade in the car in at a dealer a couple of years later and the dealer tells them the car is worth thousands less because of the accident. Let’s just say it’s not a very happy moment.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. In all states and U.S. territories except Nebraska, if you’re not at-fault, you’re legally entitled to be made whole for diminished value. The at-fault insurance must cut you a check for this. The insurance company adjuster will never voluntarily mention diminished value to you – they would get immediately fired because it would just mean an additional claim that the company has to pay. The insurance behemoths, quirky geckos and other animals owned by the likes of Warren Buffet save (steal?) billions of dollars a year by simply not mentioning diminished value to car accident victims.
So you must ask for it. And you need to prove the amount you’re asking for. The best way to prove the amount is to obtain a third-party independent Diminished Value Appraisal from a reputable auto appraiser specializing in diminished value. Most appraisers provide free DV estimates, so you can get a good idea of how much you’re owed and whether it’s worth pursuing without any upfront expense.
This works with all insurance companies and even self-insured entities such as trucking companies, commercial fleets, municipal, state or federal government vehicles. In certain states you can even make a diminished value claim under your own Uninsured Motorist Policy in case of a hit-n-run.
There are some exceptions as to who can get DV. You cannot make a diminished value claim if:
- You were at fault (unless you’re in Georgia).
- The car is totaled.
- The car is leased (financed OK).
- You’re in… well… Nebraska.
My name is Simon Galperin and I’m a DV appraiser at Tiger DV and I wrote this post myself in an effort to raise awareness and help everyday car owners like you. I hope you got some value from this post regardless if you ever purchase anything from me or not. Please tell your friends and family about diminished value. It’s a real thing. Everyone gets into accidents, so this effects everyone and it’s not fair for billion dollar companies to rip off everyday people.
If your car got hit, get a free DV estimate so you know how much you’re owed.