Statistically, ten percent of us are in auto accidents, minor or serious, every year. Even if it's a fender bender, property damage to our car is an important consideration. Thousands of dollars can be spent on simple things like bumper and hood replacement. We readily understand that, and the insurance companies pay for these obvious damages.
But they don't volunteer to pay for another type of damage that is hidden. It lurks behind and stalks us, surfacing to harm us when we try to sell that car that was wrecked. If you were looking at two identical cars, but one had been repaired after a wreck, would you pay the same for it as the one that hadn't been damaged? No. That's the problem that faces the owner of a vehicle that has been wrecked. Even though it was fully repaired at the insurance company's expense, it has lost value. It's worth less on the market.
Buyers, including dealers who are taking the vehicle on a trade, will know that it was in a wreck. Online services exist to inform them about that. All wrecked cars are identified there by vehicle identification number. If your car was in a wreck, it is identified there by number. And it is worth less on the market than if it hadn't been in that wreck. Therefore, the insurance company for the person who caused your car to be damaged should pay for the diminished value.
I assure you that money for this is never, never offered by insurance companies in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, or any other state. However, as one example, Florida law specifies that the at-fault party's insurance company is responsible for paying you the diminished value of your vehicle. It can be a considerable amount. An average car loses thousands of dollars in value, not just hundreds, after it has been damaged and repaired to the standards in this area.
Factors that contribute to a loss to a vehicle's market value include these things: warranties voided by accident damages; increased title and disclosure obligations, poor repairs, and installation of parts that are not recommended by the manufacturer. No insurance company in Florida offers to pay for this type of loss. They never tell consumers that this type damage is compensable under Florida law.
Instead, they focus on the obvious damage like dents, scraped paint, and broken windows, because they are so clearly visible. They choose to ignore the diminished value damage, because it is not in sight, and it won't bite until the car or truck is sold. Also, they have learned from experience that few consumers are savvy enough to know that they should be paid for it.
Next time, I'll give you some ideas about how to collect for this hidden damage. In the meantime, call or e-mail me to get a free copy of my DVD that will inform you about your rights after a collision.