How to Get Reimbursed for the Diminished Value of Your Vehicle After a Collision
Previously, I talked about the diminished value of a car or truck after a wreck even though it had been repaired. When you go to sell it, guess what? You won't get the same price as if it had not been in a wreck. Insurance companies don't tell you about that hidden loss, and they don't offer to pay you for it even though their driver was at fault in causing the damage and your loss. You do have the right and ability under Florida law to get paid for the diminished value of your vehicle.
One way to determine that value is to go to Carfax on the internet. A loss of value of forty percent is not unusual even though the car has been excellently repaired. Remember, insurance companies are not interested in paying fair compensation to you. Their goal is to save money. By doing that, their company can pay bigger dividends to its stockholders.
Practically speaking, what does this mean? The insurance company's adjuster is your adversary. Make no mistake about that. Knowing that, what are your steps to get fair compensation for the diminished value of your car or truck that was in a wreck? First, recognize that the insurance company will deny that diminished value has occurred although it knows full well that it has. Also, recognize that a car or truck that has had frame or other structural damage cannot be sold to someone else as a certified used vehicle. This gives validity to a claim for diminished value, and the insurance company should acknowledge its validity.
Your loss can be paid by the at-fault driver's insurance company or yours. It won't matter to you which one pays. Thousands of dollars have the same value no matter which insurance company compensates you for the loss. This is not an unfair analysis, because either you or the other party has paid a premium for the insurance policy that is supposed to pay for the loss. If the insurance company doesn't pay, it has just reaped a windfall profit, because it got premium dollars but didn't pay a dime out for them.
Now, let's think about practical criteria for reimbursement for diminished value. Forget it if the car is old or suffered prior damage. But if it's a newer model and has had at least moderate damage, a diminished value claim is worth pursuing. Someone will have to testify about this type of hidden loss. It's not like valuing a torn bumper or quarter panel which body shops can do. A car salesman can serve as the witness you need, because that person knows how to evaluate the diminished market value of that wrecked car, but various companies are also available to provide analysis and testimony. You can easily find them online.