Making a Successful DV claim

Jul 26, 2023

How much does a diminished value appraisal cost? If you are in a position to ask this question, you deserve some sympathy. Everything about being involved in a car accident is a nightmare. Even if you or a loved one avoids injury, there’s a lot to deal with in the aftermath of a wreck: getting an accident report, dealing with getting the vehicle towed,  reporting it to your insurance company, picking up a rental car, and gathering the required estimates for collision repair.  

If you’ve been in a wreck, you probably don’t want the hassle of another thing to deal with,  but there is something you should know: now that your vehicle has been in an accident you will almost certainly not be able to sell it for what it would have been worth otherwise.  Post-accident, a vehicle’s market value drops considerably, even if the repair work restores it to pristine, pre-accident condition.  

When buyers see an accident on a vehicle’s history report, they simply won’t pay as much for it as they would for an identical vehicle that has never been wrecked.  

Fortunately, there is something you can do to mitigate the loss in value if you are not the driver at fault–you can file a diminished value (DV) claim.  

A successful DV claim pays the difference between a damaged vehicle’s pre- and post-accident market value. In the case of a high-end luxury car, this can be tens of thousands of dollars.  

How Do I Make a Diminished Value Claim?  

A DV claim is not filed with your own insurance company but with the at-fault driver’s. The burden of proving your car’s value is on you, though, so it pays to be diligent about collecting information and providing evidence.  

Ideally, you will have a lot of documentation from the scene of the accident. It helps to  have:  

  • An accident report  
  • Photographs of the scene and the damaged vehicle/s  
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses  
  • Name and contact information of the officer who responded to the accident  

What you absolutely should have, however, is a professional diminished value appraisal report produced by an unbiased expert. 

You might be asking, “Why pay for a professional appraisal when there are free DV  calculators online?”  

While it might be tempting to take the easier, cheaper route of using an online calculator,  you shouldn’t. Using a generic calculator can seriously undervalue your vehicle, costing you big bucks in the long run. This is especially true for a vehicle with a great maintenance history, popular paint color–something a market expert would know–and any special features or modifications not found on standard models.  

An expert appraiser will take the time to go over every inch of your vehicle with specialized, high-tech tools, such as diagnostic scanners and paint-thickness gauges. Knowledge of the car market and access to online resources not publicly available also comes into play in valuing your vehicle accurately.  

Upon completion, you should be handed an expert, water-tight appraisal that can stand up to scrutiny and be hard for an insurance company to deny.  

How Much Will I Pay for a Diminished Value Appraisal?  

Generally, you can expect to pay from $350- $699 for a diminished value report. If you have a solid case, it’s well worth the expense; not getting an expert DV report can cost thousands of dollars in the long run.  

Auto Mediator has 25 years of history in the industry, and their experience covers every aspect of the automotive business, from current auction and sales data to expertise in maintenance and body shop repair forensic analysis. Should your claim wind up in mediation or court, Auto Mediator offers Pepperdine-trained mediators and expert witness services. In fact, the CA Dept of Justice office relies on Auto Mediator for matters related to vehicles and vehicle valuation.  

Should you be in the unenviable position of needing a diminished value expert, Auto  Mediator is the name to turn to for accurate vehicle appraisal.