Common Insurance Excuses Against a Diminished Value Claim

December 23, 2016 - Articles

In Florida, as in other states where diminished value claims are recognized, insurance providers – whether it is your own provider, or that of the at-fault party – want to pay the least amount possible for your car accident diminished value claim.

The desire to avoid paying out your diminished value claim takes on a different character at every stage of the process.  First, the insurance provider may attempt to avoid paying altogether by challenging the diminished value claim itself or by denying liability.  Later, if the insurance provider accepts liability, they may still challenge the amount owed by asserting a variety of excuses.

Excuses to Expect from the Insurance Provider

The following is a non-exhaustive list of “improper” excuses commonly given by an insurance provider to minimize the amount they have to pay for a diminished value claim in which they have accepted liability.

Repairs were made, so no diminished value.

Repairs do not destroy a diminished value claim.  In fact, even if your vehicle has been repaired with such precision that its post-accident condition is indistinguishable from its pre-accident condition, you would have a viable diminished value claim.  A vehicle has its value diminished as a natural consequence of being involved in an accident.  On the secondhand market, vehicles with an accident history (even if the condition is “like new”) tend to be worth less than vehicles without an accident history.

Car has not been sold yet.

Whether your vehicle has been sold yet has no bearing on your diminished value claim, and in fact, you should avoid selling your vehicle before you recover on your diminished value claim.  An inspection may need to be conducted of the vehicle, both by the insurer and by your diminished value attorney.

Car has a claim history.

If your vehicle has a claim history – involving even minor claims, such as windshield damage – then your current diminished value claim may be affected.  A prior claim or accident history does not end the viability of a diminished value claim, but it can have the effect of decreasing the potential recovery.

Suppose that you are bringing a diminished value claim for a vehicle that has been in a prior accident.   Before that accident, the vehicle had a market resale value of $10k, and after, it lost $6k in diminished value.  With the second accident, the pre-accident resale value is $4k, so the diminished value claim must necessarily be much less than the claim would have been had your vehicle lacked an accident history.

Car is too old to suffer diminished value.

The age of your vehicle does in fact affect its diminished value, but it does not make a diminished value claim nonviable.  Age is simply one of the factors that affects resale value.  If you have an old car that has at least some resale value, then an accident will almost certainly diminish the resale value somewhat.  Customers are unwilling to pay as much for a car that has an accident history, even if the car is older.

The local diminished value is less.

You will have to work with your attorney to gather evidence to show that the local diminished value of your vehicle is what you claim it to be.  You will likely have to rely on data acquired from experts, local dealerships, websites, and other sources.  

Pursuing a diminished value claim is easier with the support of an experienced team of attorneys.  Our team at Coffey Trial Law is committed to the success of your claims.  Contact us today for help with your case.