In Reply to: diminution of value? posted by tong on October 18, 1999 at 13:09:37:
It isn't something you file, per se, rather it is a demand no different than asking that your medicals, car rental, cost of repair, etc...be paid by the insurance carrier. To answer your question, no, insurance companies do not entertain this philosophy and usually take the approach that "how could there be a dimunition in value when we fixed your car?" They know the real answer, but will not settle this point unless you make it specific and clear that you are seeking this type of damage. Ask them to honestly answer the following question (to the claims rep.): "If YOUR car was wrecked and then repaired and you went to sell it to a dealership, do you suppose they would give YOU its full value if you advised them it had been wrecked?" They will stammer and put a spin on it, but frankly when I put them in my shoes, I have never had a claims rep. refute this point. They will try to mitigate the damage, though. You are correct in asking whether this is a subjective issue...it is. Be reasonable and base it upon a percentage of the vehicle's retail worth when you do. Severe damage, maybe as high as 50%. Minor bumper dents...maybe 2-5%. Decklid smash, maybe 10-20%. These are very flexible and you must be reasonable. You may not get what you think the dimunition is worth, but if you press upon this point, you will NOT walk away with zero. Do not let them get away without compensating you for at least some dimunition in value. Many adjustors do not like to have to explain to their superiors why they compensated a claimant for dimunition, so you may wish to allow him/her to classify it differently on the settlement agreement/check to allow him/her to save face.
In closing, in most states dimunition in value is calculated by taking the difference in value, regardless of repairs, of the the vehicle immediatly before the collision and immediatly thereafter. For instance, if your car was worth $35K just before being hit and it was worth $31K immediatly thereafter (while sitting waiting on the police), then your dimunition in value would be $4K.
Need more info? Let me know.
Sorry that happened to you.