Understanding the Diminished Value of a Car After an Accident

insurance inspector looking at damaged carAfter a car accident, victims file insurance claims for the damage done to their vehicles. While an insurer typically compensates you for the cost of repairs to your vehicle, a factor that is not considered in this amount is the impact of the accident on your vehicle’s value.

A diminished value claim helps you recover compensation for the loss of vehicle value after an accident. Our Fort Worth car accident attorneys discuss diminished value in detail below and how to file a claim. Understanding how insurers calculate diminished value may help you recover the compensation you need. For help with your claim, request a free, no obligation consultation now.

What Does Diminished Value Mean?

Once your vehicle has been involved in an accident, its value typically drops. Many believe that an accident and the repairs needed to restore the vehicle have altered it, and perhaps worsened the vehicle. For many buyers, an accident is a bad mark on a vehicle’s history – in Texas, accidents must be disclosed when a vehicle is sold.

Diminished value is the difference in your vehicle’s worth before an accident and after repairs are performed. Buyers do not want to pay as much for a car that has been in an accident compared to one that has not been in an accident. Insurance companies may not want to pay for certain parts during repairs, which can also lower the value of the vehicle. Flawed repair work is another factor that can lower the value of a car that was damaged in an accident.

How is Diminished Value Calculated?

Diminished value is determined by considering the following factors:

  • Type and extent of damage sustained in the accident
  • Cost to repair damage
  • Repair quality
  • Cost of similar vehicles never involved in an accident
  • Past and future market trends

Do not rely on the insurance company to determine a fair diminished value for your car. An attorney can help present an accurate diminished valuation of your car and negotiate a settlement with the insurer.

Main Factors That Affect Diminished Value

There are a few factors that affect the diminished value of your vehicle, lowering the amount you may be able to claim. These include:

Vehicle Age

Most insurance companies do not want to pay diminished value on vehicles more than seven years old. While older vehicles are worth less than newer ones, they are worth something, and older vehicles are not always in bad condition or lacking value.

Vehicle Mileage

Vehicle mileage impacts diminished value just as it does market value, whereas many consider lower mileage vehicles to have better value. If you have a higher mileage vehicle, your diminished value claim will not be as high as it would for a claim involving a similar vehicle with lower mileage.

If your vehicle has over 100,000 miles, you may have a tough time getting the insurer to pay your diminished value claim.

Vehicle Make and Model

Not all makes and models of vehicles are equal. A diminished value claim for a luxury vehicle will be more than a lower value brand as the more expensive model holds value longer.

Vehicle Accident History

If your vehicle has been in more than one accident, it is worth less money. Insurers may not pay compensation for this type of claim and say there is no value left in the vehicle.

Filing a Diminished Value Claim in Texas

To file a diminished value claim, you must prove the following:

  • Your vehicle lost value due to the accident
  • The specific dollar amount of your vehicle’s lost value
  • The insurance company allows diminished value claims

The following items may be used as evidence to prove the diminished value of your vehicle:

  • Repair estimates
  • Repair receipts
  • New and replacement parts list

Keep all receipts for costs you have paid for vehicle repair. On your parts list, document whether the parts used were aftermarket parts or parts made by the original equipment manufacturer.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help

If you have been involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced attorney by your side. At the law offices of Anderson & Cummings, we have helped many accident victims obtain maximum compensation. We are prepared to fight on your behalf if the insurance company of the at-fault party refuses to acknowledge your diminished value claim.

Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for your case.

Call (817) 920-9000 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form today.

*These are actual dollar amounts paid to clients after the deduction of attorney fees and expenses.


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