One unavoidable rule regarding the value of an automobile is that the value goes down once it’s been in an accident. It doesn’t matter how good the repairs are, or how high quality the replacement parts, or if it was done at the dealership or somewhere else. This being the case, once someone’s vehicle has been in an accident they can easily lose out on several thousand dollars. However, in some states (including California) there’s a way for a vehicle owner to get the difference back.
Known as a diminished value claim, this claim will allow a vehicle owner to make up the difference between their vehicles pre- and post-collision values, and can be filed in one of three ways.
Repair-Related California Diminished Value
If the reason for the diminished value is due to the inability to repair the vehicle perfectly, and the vehicle is now worth less after the repairs than it was before the collision.
Immediate California Diminished Value
This one has to do with difference between the resale value of the vehicle before the collision and the resale value after the collision but before any repairs have been made. An immediate diminished value is also the loss of value caused by the insurer’s direct involvement in the claim adjustment. When this happens, the insurer gains control over the repairs, resulting in incomplete, insufficient repairs that leave the vehicle in less than optimal condition.
Inherent California Diminished Value
This ensures that the best quality repairs have been obtained and is defined by the amount by which the resale value of a repaired vehicle has been reduced due to having been in a car accident.
When a person makes a diminished value claim, they must not be at fault in the accident and the claim is filed with the other person’s auto insurance. This means that if the accident is your fault, and you didn’t buy an auto insurance policy, you could wind up having to come out-of-pocket for more than just repairs.