When a car is repaired after an accident, its value diminishes due to the stigma attached to such cars. This will be the case even if the repair shop does an excellent repair job. In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation for the diminished value of your car. Here are three crucial things you should know before making such a claim:
Don't Expect It If You Caused the Accident
The first thing you should know is that it's tough to get the claim paid if you caused the accident that damaged your car. In fact, in most states, insurance policies are worded in such a way as to exclude diminished value claims from clients who damage their vehicles. In such states, the court may not even help you much if you sue an insurer for diminished value claims. Others have failed with such claims before.
It's Going to Be an Uphill Battle
The next thing you should know is that, even if you didn't cause the damage, it would be an uphill battle to get your claim paid. Most insurers aren't enthusiastic about paying diminished value claims. In fact, your insurer may not even make you aware of the availability of this claim if you don't make an active effort to inquire about it.
Therefore, prepare yourself for a tough negotiation process. Gather evidence in the form of appraisal values for your car before and after the accident and repairs. You may even have to involve an attorney to help you with the claim process and evidence gathering.
You Need To Make the Claim Right Away
It is unfortunate that some people do not know about a diminished value claim; this makes it difficult to file a prompt claim because you can't pursue what you don't know. In most states, you can't file a property damage claim after three years from the date of the incident. Therefore, if you only know about the possibility of making such claim when selling the car three and a half years later, you may be barred by the statute of limitations. This is another reason it's best to consult a lawyer after an accident, especially one involving extensive damages; you get to know about all the possible claims you can make.
Depending on the value of your car, the diminished value claim can be significant. For example, some estimates put it as high as 33%; for a $15,000, that would be significant money. Thus, pursuing it may be worth your time and money. Click here to read more about accident claims.