Everyone knows that after a car crash you are entitled to have your property damage repairs paid for by the responsible party. But in this day of services like Carfax, that crash may become a part of your car, truck, or motorcycle’s “permanent record”. That means that when it comes time to sell your vehicle, the buyer—whether it is a private party or a dealer—may know that you car has been in an accident, and that fact may well reduce the value of your vehicle at resale. This element of damages is called “Diminution in Value” and it is something that insurance companies do not like to discuss.
In California, when your vehicle is repaired, insurance companies assume that their responsibility to you for your property damage is done. But if you can demonstrate that even though your vehicle has been repaired, it is worth less that it was worth before the collision, you may have a further claim for diminution of value of your property. In order to get money for this element of loss, you will need to demonstrate the loss through evidence, such as an apprasial from a dealership. In the event of a leased vehicle, you may want to get input from the lender on your lease to see if they will surcharge you because of the collision. Sometimes you will need to retain an independent appraiser to establish the diminution of value of your property. Very expensive vehilces are more likely to be reduced in value after a serious crash. Claims where there was frame damage or airbag deployment increase the potential for diminution of value claims.
Bear these facts in mind in the event your car, truck, or motorcycle is damaged in a collision. If you have questions about whether your claim should include diminution in value, make sure you inquire about this with your attorney or insurance claims representative. Feel free to contact The Car Appraiser for a consultation with an experienced appraiser.