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Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • Diminished Value Automobile Claims - What's That?
    After a collision, your conversations with auto insurance companies may involve vehicle inspections, repair estimates, and coverage to repair or replace your vehicle. What you probably won’t hear your insurance agent talk about is your vehicle’s “diminished value.” Diminished value is a valid type of compensation you may be able to claim after a collision that damages your vehicle. To obtain this additional compensation, you must file a diminished value claim.​
  • What does “Diminished Value” Mean?
    The collision happened, so your car will inevitably have damage needing repair. Your insurance company (or the company of the at-fault driver) will typically offer you compensation for the cost of repairs. You receive the check and the repairs, and your vehicle is good as new - right? Wrong. Although the repairs will help your vehicle look and drive better, they will still leave “evidence of repairs.” Unfortunately, evidence of repairs will diminish the value of your car when you want to sell it or trade it in. Potential buyers will view a wreck as a blemish on the vehicle’s history due to your vehicle’s CARFAX record. They may argue the accident and subsequent repairs altered the original vehicle or worsened it in some way. Diminished value describes the difference between what your vehicle was worth before the collision and what it is worth after the repairs. An insurance company may argue there is no diminished value - that you can sell your repaired vehicle for the same price you would have had no accident occurred. This isn’t always true. Even if your repairs look perfect, a history of damage can deter buyers (inherent diminished value). If you have to replace your existing vehicle parts with different versions because the insurance company won’t authorize certain repairs (claim-related diminished value), this can also result in a lower-value vehicle.
  • What if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance?
    You may also make a diminished value claim where the at-fault driver (the person who caused the collision) is not insured, provided you carry uninsured motorist coverage. “Full coverage” does not always mean you have uninsured motorist coverage.
  • When should I make a claim for diminished value?
    The general rule is to always file a claim as soon as possible! However, the statute of limitations (the deadline by which you must make the claim) varies by state. If you're not sure of your state's statute of limitations, contact us for a Free Consultation.
  • What if I’m leasing my vehicle?
    If your car is a lease vehicle, you should consult the lease company to discuss the matter with them. In some instances, they will file the diminished value claim on your behalf, but in most instances, it will be up to you to file the claim. If the latter is the case, our firm will help you through this process.
  • What do I need to do to assist with my claim?
    D’VA will need copies of all receipts, estimates, and documents from the collision center that performed the repairs on your vehicle. We are here to help obtain documentation of all new or replacement parts installed, noting whether they are aftermarket components or from the original equipment manufacturer. If there was a police/crash report associated with the collision, we will need a copy. If you do not have the police/crash report but have the report number, please provide us with the number, and we will obtain it on your behalf. We would appreciate any additional information you could provide such as pictures, a copy of at-fault insurance card and/or at-fault driver's license, etc. All of this type of information will assist with filing and negotiating your claim.
  • How much money is my claim worth?
    Just like all legal matters, the answer is “it depends.” Generally, the final result depends on several factors, and these factors differ between insurance companies and insurance adjusters. Most Auto insurance companies have their own formula to determine the “fair value” of a wrecked motor vehicle. Most of these formulas are geared toward paying you less than you actually deserve. Any time a worksheet or pre-determined formula is used to assess the total dollar amount of a loss, it’s going to be insufficient since every case is different. Fortunately, under Texas and Louisiana law any such formula is not acceptable on its own merits - it’s only acceptable if you deem it acceptable, which you have absolutely no obligation to do. In order to determine an accurate diminished value for your damaged vehicle, our Independent Certified Expert Appraiser considers every relevant factor, including: Year, make, model of your vehicle Any previous damage to your vehicle, repaired or unrepaired Damage to your vehicle caused by the collision Cost of vehicle repairs Quality of repairs that were made Cost of comparable vehicles in the pre-crash state Past market trends Future market trends Mileage at the time of the collision ​ D’VA obtains expert reports from our Independent Auto Appraisal Expert, who is experienced in the field of DV and who may provide expert testimony for Appraisals, Arbitrations, Mediation or Litigation if needed. Certain damage and subsequent repairs are more detrimental to the value of your vehicle than others. Our expert appraisers can assess how the damage and repairs specifically affect the diminished value of your vehicle. There are no set rules for measuring diminished value, and since every vehicle loses value differently, a one size fits all formula would be fundamentally inaccurate. Remember, no one can ever guarantee a favorable outcome, let alone an estimated amount of settlement.
  • How long should this process take me?
    This depends on many factors, such as which insurance company is handling your claim. Some insurance carriers quickly negotiate diminished value claims, while others drag the process out, sometimes intentionally, to frustrate you and the hope that you will become impatient and accept a low-value offer on your vehicle. The average diminished value claim is completed between three to four months.
  • I’ve accepted the insurance company’s offer and signed the release. When can I expect my check?
    Once the insurance carrier receives your release, it can take anywhere from one to two weeks to receive your check in our office. Once the check is received by the claim specialist, you will be notified to sign final paperwork and your check will be mailed to you or be available for pickup.
  • The insurance company has given me their final offer, and I’m not satisfied. What are my options?
    This is a very common question. If you’re not satisfied with the insurance company’s final offer, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The greatest advantage to filing a lawsuit is the possibility of obtaining more money; however, the greatest disadvantage to filing a lawsuit is how long the process typically will take. In such an instance, D’VA will talk with you about retaining an attorney to learn about all factors involved in filing a lawsuit.
  • Will My Insurance Rates Go Up?
    For the most part, these claims are filed with the at-fault insurance company. If that is the case, it cannot have any effect on your insurance policy. There are, however, some instances where the claim will need to be filed under your own policy. For instance, in the event you are hit by a driver that does not have insurance or if it was a hit-and-run situation. In these cases, the claim can be filed on your policy if you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Another option is filing the Diminished Value Claim on your Underinsured Motorist Coverage if the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage to cover all your damages and any other vehicles that may have been involved that they are liable for. Keep in mind that rental car expenses also come out of the at-fault party's liability insurance coverage so the costs associated with that will also reduce the amount of coverage available to you for a Diminished Value Claim.
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