If you’ve been in an auto accident, you may be eligible for compensation beyond the repair costs.
You stepped out and bought a new car. It’s shiny, perfect and pristine. You love it so much you park it a football field’s distance away from the store and the junkers in the parking lot just waiting to ding it. You not only park your baby in the garage at home, but you also put a cover on it so as not to later find little kitty paw prints all over the paint.
You take every precaution to protect your new car from the elements, so it’s beyond devastating when, WHAM, you’re caught in a wreck and your prized possession is mangled.
As long as you’re not the one at fault you can count on a check from the other driver’s insurance company for the repairs. But what about the worth of your car? After your car has been in an accident it will not be worth as much, even if it’s repaired and feels "like new."
You’ve seen those commercials about car buyers wanting to see a vehicle’s accident report. If it includes damage, it makes a big difference in the price of the car. The monetary difference between your car’s pre-accident value and what it’s worth after the accident is called diminished value.
For instance, if a 2009 Lexus IS F is worth $40,000 prior to an accident, and is worth $25,000 afterward, the value of the vehicle has been reduced by $15,000 and the vehicle’s owner is entitled to compensation (depending on your state’s law. To get paid for your diminished value, you’ll need to send a letter and an appraisal report to the at-fault party asking for proper and timely compensation for your loss.
First things first - get your vehicle appraised by an independent appraiser who specializes in diminished value. There are plenty of companies out there who do this, but not as many who will handle your situation with care and fight for you, so choose wisely. The appraiser will most likely require a police report and proof that the at-fault party’s insurance company will accept liability and approve your repair estimate.
Getting completed reports from the police and cooperation from insurance companies can be a lengthy and frustrating process at times, so keep calm and be patient. If all goes well, you could have your claim settled and a check in your hand in 30-60 days.
Sara Thompson is an Inbound Marketing Specialist for Webfor, representing Autoloss.com