How to File a Diminished Value Claim: A Step-by-Step Guide

Filing a diminished value claim can be a complicated process, but it doesn't have to be. Knowing the steps to take and understanding your rights can help you get the compensation you deserve for the decrease in value of your vehicle. The first step is to determine who was at fault for the accident. Insurance companies use state laws and the details of the accident to make this determination.

If you were not at fault, you can file a diminished value claim in most states. To do this, you will need to send your documentation and a demand letter to the at-fault driver's insurance company. You can do this by mail or email. Your demand letter should include the exact amount of diminished value you are requesting and set a time frame for the response.

It is best to file your claim as soon as possible after your vehicle has been repaired, as each state has a statute of limitations for filing a claim. In most states, you have at least two years to file a diminished value claim, so don't wait until the last minute. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you may need to take additional steps. Missouri is estimated to have 14 percent of uninsured drivers, and while Missouri requires you to have uninsured driver's insurance, it only covers your bodily injuries.

Any low-value coverage will need to come from a third-party legal action or, if your policy includes collision coverage, you may pay for the decrease in value yourself. It is always a good idea to talk to your insurance agent before filing a diminished value claim with the at-fault insurer. Your agent can't do any paperwork for you, but they can give you advice on how to manage it. You can also contact a certified appraisal company for an evaluation of your vehicle.

Some groups can appraise your vehicle online based on a description of the accident, damage, and repaired parts and then give you an estimated loss of value. If your diminished value claim is denied or if you receive a low offer, try negotiating first. The repair-related decrease in value is usually the responsibility of the repair center and is the result of poor workmanship. Insurance companies often use the diminished value formula “17c” to assess the value of a vehicle involved in an accident, but there may be other ways to calculate the value figure of a diminished car. The immediate reduced value can be calculated as the difference between the resale value of a vehicle before the damage occurred and the resale value before repairs were made after the damage. An attorney can help determine how much damage caused by an accident affected the value of your car and whether it's worth starting a diminished value case. You should expect to recover more for a newer car with lower mileage and less for an older car with higher mileage.

If you are from a state that requires depreciation compensation, you will be compensated for the decrease in the value of your car. Understand your rights with a diminished value claim to ensure that you receive what you are entitled to. If your vehicle is an older model and had a low cash value before the accident, filing a diminished value claim may not be in your best interest. You may be entitled to receive compensation from the at-fault party's insurance company for the decline in value of your vehicle, but there can be many different situations within these guidelines and it is important not to assume that their value has not decreased. If you think you can file a diminished value claim, seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident. Knowing how to present your case and understanding your rights can help ensure that you get what you deserve.

Darrell Trimboli
Darrell Trimboli

Wannabe tv buff. Certified web scholar. Subtly charming tv maven. Avid tv guru. Hardcore beer specialist. Infuriatingly humble student.

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