Diminished value

Hi – I own a Honda Civic 2007 model with 12,500 miles on it. I was recently rear ended with $7000 damage. I’d like to have the other party’s insurer pay for inherent diminished value (or otherwise recover it from that party). What is the accepted way to determine this value? I went to some internet sites and got a call saying my dimished value was about $7000 and they wanted $300 for the paperwork. I’m OK with paying for service, but need to know if I need someone to actually look at the car, not just give me figures over the phone and charge me for it. Many thanks in advance, rearended.

What did your insurer say when you asked them about it?

Sounds like a scam to me. Go through your agent. I doubt you’ll get more than having your car fully repaired. I’ve not heard of someone getting extra cash on top.

I’m pretty sure Diminished value exists as a legal concept in every state, based on my reading of the resources on the internet. But I don’t trust all sources! So I’m hoping for an expert view.

I think that my own insurer won’t cover diminished value because it’s explicitly excluded in my policy. I believe the legal theory is that you can go after the other
party’s insurance because you don’t have a policy with them. Obviously they don’t want to pay out, and try to stonewall. So I’m looking to line my ducks before either trying to demand payment from them, or otherwise sue the person who rearended me in small claims court.

The expert in this case is your agent. He can tell you if it is possible. I would not believe anything associated with a web site that wants $300 from you.

Don’t pay for it. Call the adjuster from the insurance company that was paying. They would send out an appraiser if they choose to.

Thanks meaneyedcatz and texases: they did send an appraiser but haven’t said anything about diminished value. Assuming they give me a settlement amount, how would I know it’s fair?

You are probably are entitled to some diminished value, although I don’t think it would be anywhere near $7000. Most regular cars will sell for a couple thousand less with significant previous paint/body/frame repair at dealer auctions. As a car gets older,its value is not significantly affected by previous body repair unless the title is branded salvage. I usually tell customers to compare the Kelly Blue Book figures between excellent and fair condition, and use that as a baseline figure. You might get a little more from an independent appraiser, but it might not be worth the hassle.

Thanks for the advice! I looked up the online Kelley’s blue book and found the
difference was about $4200. My car was pretty new, with low mileage and still under warranty.

Your agent should be your representative in this case, and can advise you about diminished value the other insurer may be liable for. Your agent may not be helpful, and if you never ask, they will not be any help at all. Guaranteed.

I’m assuming you had this vehicle financed and the payout isn’t going to cover the amount you owe on the loan.
While Gap insurance sounds like a scam, it’s there for this specific issue.