Wanna talk secrets? Diminished value is a secret insurance companies would love to keep. While they more or less dutifully pay out to fix your car after an accident, they don’t want to tell you that you may also be able to claim diminished value and collect a whole lot more.
Why? Because it’s very rare that a wrecked car doesn’t lose a significant amount of its former value, even if the repair work was done perfectly.
Most buyers take a hard pass when they find out a car has been in an accident–or they will offer much less than they would for an identical car with no accident in its vehicle history. That, in a nutshell, describes diminished value. And it’s in the insurance company’s best interest that you never learn that secret.
Some vehicle owners never find out about their vehicle’s diminished value until well after the accident, when they go to sell their vehicle and find out it’s worth a lot less than they expected. By then, it’s far too late to make a DV claim.
It should be noted, however, that if you are the at fault driver you have very little chance of recovering diminished value.
Your Best Friend in a Diminished Value Claim
The burden of proving a diminished value claim is on the vehicle owner. You have to file your DV claim with the other driver’s insurance company–this isn’t your insurance company’s responsibility–and then submit whatever documents exist showing what happened. These include photos of the accident scene, witness statements, and accident reports.
The hardest part is providing proof of your vehicle’s former market value to hold up against its value after repair. Getting a professional appraisal is the most effective way to do this. Never try to skimp on this by using an online calculator or appraiser, which can seriously undervalue your vehicle–sometimes by several thousand dollars.
A diminished value appraiser is your best friend when you’re trying to prove a diminished value claim. Hiring a DV appraiser is the single best way of proving the true pre-accident value of your vehicle versus its after-accident market value.
Are There Diminished Value Appraisal Secrets?
The secrets of a diminished value appraiser are such things as market guide programs for dealers that are unavailable to the public and tools like paint thickness gauges that give appraisers clues that a car has been repaired or repainted.
The real secrets of the best auto appraisers, however, are their knowledge of cars and car markets acquired through years of experience. Auto markets can change as different vehicles rise and fall in popularity. Surging gas prices, for example, can cause more demand for smaller, fuel efficient hybrids.
As good appraisers know, the market can also be driven by whim. Even the color of a vehicle can make a difference in its market value. A popular model in an unpopular color is not going to be valued as highly as the same model in a hot color.
Expert appraisers pay attention to detail and go over every inch. They’ll get information from you so they can take into account your car’s maintenance history and any special features that would increase its value–things a generic calculator doesn’t take into account.
Armed with knowledge and experience, an expert appraiser can produce an indisputable customized report to which the insurance company must pay attention.
Turn to Auto Mediator for Accurate Diminished Value
Auto Mediator has over 25 years of experience, including 20 years running an auto auction. Their nationwide reputation is among the best. Whether you need an appraisal for a DV claim or for any other reason, the experts at Auto Mediator will provide an accurate, detailed appraisal.