What is Diminished Value?

Diminished Value (DV) is the loss in market value that occurs when a vehicle is wrecked and repaired. A reasonably intelligent consumer will not pay the same price for a wrecked, then repaired vehicle, as they will for a vehicle with no prior accident history. Even if the repairs were done well, the vehicle will still lose value.

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Do You Qualify For Diminished Value?

All vehicles that are damaged and repaired suffer some amount of diminished value. However, not all situations qualify to make a claim to an insurance company to be compensated for diminished value. Some of the determining factors include: the state in which you live, how the damage occurred, and whether or not you were at fault.

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The Diminished Value Claim Process

The 1st step in the diminished value claim process is to be able to prove your loss. This can only be done by hiring a diminished value expert such as Collision Claim Associates. The determination of the amount of value a vehicle has lost can only be assessed by an experienced appraiser knowledgeable in collision damage analysis, vehicle markets and what happens to vehicles with a damage history in those markets.

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Georgia Diminished Value Claims

On November 28, 2001, the Georgia Supreme Court made a decision regarding automobile diminished value. In short, the court’s decision made it the law that all insurance companies doing business in Georgia must assess and pay for any loss in market value for vehicles damaged in a wreck and repaired, as part of the damages of the claim. This loss in value is known as Diminished Value or DV. The above case was settled and the parties agreed to the use of a “formula” referred to as the “17C Formula”.

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When Is A Vehicle A Total Loss?

Most insurance companies will declare a car, light truck, or SUV to be a total loss when the preliminary cost of repairs reaches some pre-determined percentage of the vehicle’s value. Generally, the percentage used is anywhere from 70% to 80%. A total loss is declared when it is determined that it is in the insurance company’s best financial interest to declare the vehicle a total loss. This percentage is an insurance industry practice and in most cases is not related to a state law.

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The Total Loss Claim Process

When you are involved in a collision, you will report the claim to either to your own insurance company or the insurance company of another at-fault party. The insurance company will assign a damage estimator to inspect the damage and write a repair estimate. Once the estimate is written, the repair cost will be compared to the value of the vehicle. Generally, insurance companies will declare a vehicle to be a total loss if the cost of repairs is more than 70% to 80% of the vehicle’s value.

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1st Party Claimant vs 3rd Party Claimant

A 1st party claimant is someone who is making a claim against his/her own insurance policy. Even if you were not at fault in the accident, if you let your insurance company handle paying for the damage with the idea that they will get it back from the at-fault persons insurance company, you are a 1st party claimant. In most states you can not make a claim for diminished value as a 1st party claimant against your own insurance policy. The only exception is the state of Georgia where you can make a claim for diminished value as a 1st party claimant through your own insurance policy.

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The Appraisal Clause Process

An appraisal clause is a clause or paragraph found in most but not all insurance policies. It is designed to be a way of reaching a settlement when there is a dispute over the amount of a loss between you and your insurance company and can be invoked by either party. The appraisal clause can be utilized when there is a dispute over the cost to repair your vehicle, the value of your vehicle in a total loss claim or the diminished value of your vehicle if you reside in a state where you can make a 1st party claim for diminished value. The appraisal clause is generally found in the “Damage to Your Auto” section of your policy. Following are the basic steps involved in the execution of the appraisal clause of most policies.

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At-Fault Party Has Minimal Coverage

After an auto accident, If the at-fault party does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for all of the damage to your car, truck or SUV, then you should put the claim through your own collision insurance coverage. Some states still have minimum coverage limits as low as $5,000.00. With auto body work being as expensive as it is even moderate damage to your vehicle can rack up a repair bill much larger than that.

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Know Your Repair Rights

After an auto collision it is important to know what you are entitled to. Often insurance company adjusters will not tell you everything you are entitled to in order to save the company money. They will also generally try to convince you to have the damage repairs completed at a shop that is on their “preferred list”, citing that the insurance company has “approved” the shop and “guarantee” the repairs.

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DV Qualification Quiz

Take our short diminished value qualification quiz to see if your situation qualifies you to make a diminished value claim.

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Free DV Claim Review

This is where it starts. Our free diminished value claim review will give you the answers you need to make educated decisions.

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