Diminished value is the loss in value of a vehicle after it has been in an accident. This loss in value can be due to the damage to the vehicle, the fact that it has been in an accident, or both.
In Georgia, you may be able to file a diminished value claim with your insurance company if your vehicle has been in an accident and the damage has been repaired. To qualify for a diminished value claim, your vehicle must meet the following requirements:
- Be worth at least $7,000
- Be less than 10 years old
- Have not been in more than two accidents
- Have not been declared a total loss
If your vehicle meets these requirements, you can file a diminished value claim with your insurance company. To do this, you will need to provide the following information:
- The date of the accident
- The names of the drivers involved in the accident
- The police report number
- The amount of damage to your vehicle
- The cost of repairs
- An appraisal of your vehicle’s value before and after the accident
Once you have submitted all of this information, your insurance company will review your claim and decide whether or not to pay it. If approved, you will be paid the difference between the value of your vehicle before and after the accident.
How Much Can You Get for Diminished Value?
The amount of money you can get for diminished value will vary depending on the severity of the damage to your vehicle and the age of your vehicle. In general, you can expect to receive a few thousand dollars for diminished value. However, if your vehicle is very valuable or if the damage to your vehicle is very severe, you may be able to receive more money.
How to File a Diminished Value Claim
To file a diminished value claim, you will need to contact your insurance company. You can do this by calling them or by submitting a claim online. When you contact your insurance company, be sure to have all of the information listed above ready.
Your insurance company will review your claim and decide whether or not to pay it. If your claim is approved, you will be paid the difference between the value of your vehicle before and after the accident.
If A Claim is Denied
An insurance company may deny your diminished value claim, however; you may be able to appeal the decision. To do this, you will need to file a written appeal with your insurance company. In your appeal, you should explain why you believe your claim should be approved.
If your appeal is denied, you may be able to take your case to court. However, this is a complex process and you should consult with an attorney before taking this step.
Georgia’s Stance on Diminished Value Claims
Georgia stands out as one of the few states with clear legislation and guidelines concerning diminished value claims. Here’s what residents of the Peach State should know:
- Mandatory Claims: In Georgia, insurance companies are legally required to compensate for diminished value. This means that if your car has been repaired after an accident and has suffered a loss in value, the insurer must address this loss.
- “First Party” Claims: Georgia allows for “first party” diminished value claims. This means that even if you were at fault for the accident, you can still file a diminished value claim with your insurance provider.
- Stipulated Time Frame: Georgia law stipulates that diminished value claims must be filed within four years of the accident. This gives car owners a reasonable window to assess the loss in value and gather necessary documentation.
- Formula for Calculation: The state has a recognized formula, often referred to as the “17c formula,” which provides a baseline for calculating diminished value. However, it’s worth noting that many experts believe this formula often undervalues the actual diminished value.
- Independent Appraisals: While insurance companies might offer their assessment of diminished value, Georgia residents have the right to seek independent appraisals. This can be crucial in cases where there’s a significant discrepancy between the insurer’s offer and the car owner’s expectations.
- Legal Precedents: Georgia has seen several court cases that have set precedents in the realm of diminished value claims. Familiarizing oneself with these can offer insights into how claims are evaluated and awarded.
- Local Expertise: Given the state-specific nuances, it’s beneficial for Georgia residents to consult with personal injury attorneys or appraisers who have experience with the state’s diminished value landscape.
Understanding the Broader Implications of Diminished Value
While the immediate financial implications of diminished value are evident, there are broader aspects to consider:
- Resale Challenges: Vehicles with an accident history, even after repairs, often face challenges in the resale market. Potential buyers might be hesitant due to concerns about hidden damages or long-term reliability.
- Insurance Premiums: After an accident, insurance premiums can increase. While this isn’t directly related to diminished value, it’s another financial implication of accidents that vehicle owners should be aware of.
- Loan Implications: If you’re still paying off a car loan, the diminished value might mean you owe more on the loan than the car is currently worth. This can be problematic if you’re considering selling the vehicle or if it’s totaled in a subsequent accident.
- Rental Car Scenarios: If you’re renting a car and it gets damaged, you might be liable for the diminished value, depending on the rental agreement’s terms.
- Future Repairs: Sometimes, not all issues from an accident present themselves immediately. There might be underlying damages that surface later, further diminishing the vehicle’s value.
- Emotional Value: Beyond the tangible, there’s an emotional aspect. Owners might lose the sense of security or pride in a vehicle post-accident, even after repairs.
- Navigating Negotiations: If you’re negotiating a diminished value claim without legal representation, it’s essential to be well-informed. Insurance companies might offer lower settlements, banking on the assumption that individuals might not fully understand their vehicle’s diminished value.
Our Firm Is Here To Help
If you have been in a car accident and your vehicle has been damaged, you may be entitled to a diminished value claim. Rebecca Kay Sapp Law Firm can help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve. We’re located in Lilburn, Stone Mountain, & Riverdale, GA.