If you have proper car insurance, you can file a diminished value claim apart from the regular insurance claim to pay for the repair of the vehicle. Most car insurance companies, understandably, do not highlight this angle to their service offering.
Even after a car that was damaged in an accident is restored and repaired completely, it loses some resale value. This loss in value is called the diminished value. This occurs because buyers are not willing to pay the same amount for a car that was part of an accident as an undamaged car. Their perception of the car changes, and so does its value. This is true of all cars, both old and new.
Calculating Diminished Value
It is very difficult to calculate diminished value based on actual damages. Even a qualified mechanic can only quote a figure without being able to substantiate it. This is because the value is diminished due to a perception. The best way of getting an accurate estimate of the diminished value is to get actual quotes from potential buyers. By asking buyers how much they will be willing to pay for a non-accident vehicle of the same make and model and an accident one, you will be able to get an estimate of your loss.
The diminished value claim can be made even after your other car insurance claims have been settled. Just give your estimate to the company and expect the adjuster to lower it to some extent.
There is no fixed time limit to file for diminished value. However, individual insurance companies might have their own time limit clauses. To avoid losing out on this payment because of the time limit clause, file for a diminished value claim as soon as possible after the accident. Just inform the insurance company of your intent to file for this claim and ask them to send you the necessary forms. Fill these in and attach a mechanic’s estimate of the diminished value to bolster your case.
In the event that the insurance company either rejects your claim or offers a very low compensation, contact a lawyer to help you argue your case in court. There are lawyers who specialize in car insurance claims. They will be able to help you get a fair and just settlement from your insurance company.