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Diminished Values FAQs

What is diminished value?

Diminished value is the lost market value when a car is damaged in an accident. It is essentially a loss of property value. Even though a car has been completely repaired, it has lost value for a number of reasons. First, it has lost value because of the perception that a damaged car is not as valuable as an undamaged car. Consumers purchasing cars automatically place less value on a previously damaged car. Second, repair shops are often not able to duplicate many of the processes available only to manufacturers, such as emersion rust proofing, baked on finishing, etc.

 

Does your car need to be high-end or new to recover dinimished value?

No, all cars have diminished value if they’ve been in accident. Forrest Law will be able to help you determine what that value is.

Why should I care about diminished value?

Because your car is worth less because of the accident and repairs.  The market will pay you less now and when you resell or trade it in. When an auto-insurance company issues a check for repairs, they are paying for the cost of the repairs only. They are not paying you for the inherent loss in value of the car.

How do I recoup this loss?

Forrest Law works with a vehicle appraiser to generate a report and occasionally file a loss of value claim in court to force the insurance company to pay for the loss in value of the auto, a monetary loss that is rightfully owed to the owner.

How much will this cost me?

This process will cost you nothing. The legal work is based on a contingency fee. We will only charge you if we are able to recover damages.

I only had a minor accident, can I still recover damages?

Absolutely. Many times small accidents recover more damages than large ones in loss of value claims. Minor accidents or accidents at slow speeds often cause significant damage that is not always visible. Also, all accidents, no matter the size, depreciate the market value of your car.  You experience a loss of property value whether the accident was significant or minor.

My insurance company says that state law does not allow for a diminished value claim. Is that true?

Insurance companies will often try to avoid paying these loss of value claims. Diminished value and case law supporting this type of claim has been in existence for nearly 70 years.

My insurance company says that my vehicle was properly repaired and has therefore not suffered diminished value. What can I do?

Most insurance companies are reluctant to pay diminished value or loss of value claims. An inherent diminished value claim is based on the idea that a vehicle may have been properly repaired, but the value of the car has still depreciated. The vehicle has lost value because it is not what it was before the accident. It no longer has a clean history and potential buyers will see this information.

Will this make my insurance premiums rise?

This should not increase your insurance premium because the loss of value claim is filed with the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. It is a good idea to contact your insurance agent or carrier to verify this is the case.

How long will this process take?

A required appraisal will take about 2 weeks to process and many loss of value claims settle within 90 days. Occasionally, diminished value claims may take longer depending on the complexity of facts or circumstances.