Diminishing Value Claim for Brand New Car (only 50 miles)

I just recently bought a 2010 Rava and only driven 50 miles on it when I was rear-ended. My insurance (Amica) will pay for the repairs but the car will suffer significatly from diminishing value. I want to file a claim with the other insurance since mine doesn’t cover it.

I went to my dealer that sold me my car and they estimated a trade-in value of $21k. I paid $26.5k. Thats a loss of $5.5k which I am trying to recover.

Does anyone have experience
ecommendationsadvice in going about this trying to recover the diminishinig value loss? What are my chances of recovering the loss for the full amount? I live in Massachusetts.


-The bumper and wheeler compartments will need to be replaced. Underlying frame was also bent.

-the initial estimate of repairs is $3.5k but my insurance will pay the difference if it exceeds that amount.

-the police report states that it was the person who rear-ended me fault’s and a citation was given to them.


‘New purchase price’ - ‘trade in value’ will always yield a big number, and is no indication of ‘diminished value’. What you need is ‘trade in value without accident’ - ‘trade in value after accident repaired’. That will be a much smaller number.

The $21k is the trade in value after it has been repaired from a certified totyota shop.

Are you saying I need to find the trade-in value if the vehicle had not been in the accident? Would the value drop that much for a car with only 50 miles on it?

Exactly! It dropped almost that much when you drove it off the lot. There are insurance companies that will replace a totaled car less than a year old with a brand new one but it doesn’t sound like your car is totaled.

As soon as you bought the car and drove it off the lot, it lost $5,000 in value in less than 1 minute. That’s what happens when people buy brand new cars.

What’s a Rava?

Yes, he is, and yes, it would. There’s a lot of depreciation in that first mile, let alone 50.

Why did the dealership give me an estimate of $21K when I told them it would be after the repairs?

I don’t understand your question.

Let me clarify. I asked them for a trade-in estimate for a reparied vehicle. They gave me $21k. So now I have to find the price that of the vehicle if it was not in an accident.

So the difference between the two, would then be my diminished value?

They Probably Would Have Valued It At $17K To $18K Before Repairs, As Is.

My experience with used car salespeople is that they don’t care whether or not a car has had body damage repaired or not as long as nobody can tell by looking at it. I think generally they value a normal used car the same as a used car that was in a collision and properly repaired and I have worked at two car dealers.

It’s the car buyers that have a problem with buying a car that is known to have been in a collision.


You’re correct, the difference between ‘with repair’ and ‘without repair’ trade in values is what you need. You’ll need both values in writing. Whether your insurance company will compensate you for that difference is another question entirely. That, I don’t know.

“Let me clarify. I asked them for a trade-in estimate for a reparied vehicle. They gave me $21k. So now I have to find the price that of the vehicle if it was not in an accident.”

The accident makes no difference. It’s worth $21K either way…There is no “diminished value” from the accident. You are NOT going to get a $3500 bonus payment from ANY insurance company.

Glad we got the value cleared up. Thanks for the help.

Anyone out there with experience in recouping diminishing value from insurance? I will call today the other party’s insurance and see what they say but I wanted some sort of advice before hand. Particular if its worth the effort to do so…

Let me clarify. I asked them for a trade-in estimate for a reparied vehicle. They gave me $21k. So now I have to find the price that of the vehicle if it was not in an accident.

So the difference between the two, would then be my diminished value?

You have some major misconceptions of how the car purchasing works.

If you drove the car off the lot and then drove 50 miles…then decided that it was the wrong color for you…and you then decided to trade it in on a brand-new vehicle (EXACTLY the same as yours but a different color)…$21k is probably all they’d offer you.

Trade-in value and retail-value are TOTALLY different. If you decided to sell the car by yourself…you probably get a few more k…but nothing more…

#2…What you’re trying to do is just a waste of time. You have to PROVE that the car has lost value due to the accident (AFTER REPAIRS). NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. If you can it will be the first time I’ve ever heard about it. Good luck though.

You Might Be Able To Sue The Person Who Hit You, But How Will You Prove Your Actual Damages (The Exact Difference In Diminished Value) ?

Don’t you have a trustworthy, experienced insurance agent yourself ? I could certainly get the correct advice from my own insurance agent. She knows all aspects of insurance and provides useful answers to all of my questions.

If your agent can’t help guide you then after this mess is resolved then get better insurance / better agent. Not all insurance and the service they provide is the same. You get what you pay for in many cases.

Maybe you should walk into a reputable insurance agency, explain the situation, tell them you might be looking for new insurance, and see if you receive useful advice.

Not too many who respond here are insurance professionals, mostly mechanics and car enthusiasts.


My adjuster wasn’t helpful. She told me that I would have to make a claim with the other insurance company but she doesn’t know anything about trying to reclaim diminishing value.

A car that has been in an accident is NOT worth as much as it would have been, IMHO.

I once sold airplanes for a living, and used planes are ALWAYS priced higher than comparables without damage history. Hence the “NDH” (No Damage History) feature of many used plane ads.

The OP needs to have the car appraised to determine the effects of Bondo in lieu of unpainted sheet metal. It can be argued that a used car buyer will pick a never damaged car after reading articles in Consumer Reports and elsewhere advising not to.

If you had a choice of buying a repaired car over a never damaged one, you’d pick the repaired one? SURE you would!

I found this website (there are many others)


Not The Claims Adjuster. Some Are Part-Time Seven-Eleven Clerks. I Was Referring To Your Trusted Agent . . . Or Is This One Of Those Dot.Com Companies That Give You An “E-Gent” ?


I have no agent. The policy was set through the phone and they do have local offices but no anywhere close to where I live. Amica is a reputable insurance company in my area.

You keep calling it diminishing value- it’s diminished value. Although your car is continuously diminishing in value, you’re looking for compensation for this one event that diminished the value of the car. Seems like a nitpick but when you start negotiating with insurance people it will help if you sound like you know what you’re talking about.

It can be done and I’ve personally done it. I wish I could say I was the first but no, my brother was the first one in the family who was successful. Unfortunately, he had to go all the way to court to get it. The ins co wouldn’t budge. Even at the doorstep where they want you to negotiate, they wouldn’t so into court they go.

When it came time, the judge asks, on what basis are you claiming diminished value? He asked the judge, if he had two identical cars and was going to buy one of them, which would he prefer, the one in original condition or the one that had been repaired after a major accident? He conceded the point with a head nod. The next question was, how did you arrive at this figure? My brother explained that it was pure gut feel for how much he would be willing to take off under the circumstances. I think the judge factored the ins co stonewalling into it because he accepted the argument and that was that.

Today, diminished value is more commonly compensated and I think you should be able to defend your argument. You just need to back it up as others have said with not the fully depreciated value but what is the difference between the damaged car and one that has not been damaged. The dealer’s used car manager may be able to help you in that regard. Get a signed statement from him if possible…