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Auto Insurance Claims/Diminished Value Claim denied!!


John wrote at 2016-01-16 19:44:45
I believe Charlie left out some important information.  I work for an insurance company and handle these claims on a daily basis.

Here is my process when I start a diminution of value claim and my reasoning.

1.   Look at mileage.  For the most part if you vehicle is over 100,000 miles we are not going to pay.  Every other area of the vehicle would have to be in exceptional condition to even consider this claim.  Further, most people buying cars with over 100K on the clock don’t really care if it was in a fender bender.  If you have high miles for the year we also feel the amount of the diminished value is less.  So if you have a year old car with 50,000 miles the value was not affected as much as a year old car with 10,000 miles.

2.   CARFAX- I check the CARFAX to search for previous accidents.  You have to keep in mind that not every accident will be on the CARFAX.  If your car has been in an accident previously, I will deny your DV claim on the spot.

3.   ISO Claim Search- Like I said previously, not every accident goes on CARFAX, but most claims are reported on ISO between the insurance companies.  If I find a damages claim in ISO which involved the vehicle… claim denied again.

4.   Independent appraiser to complete post-repair inspection- With this we are looking for a few things.  The first being signs of poor repairs.  If the shop did not properly repeat the repairs we want the vehicle to go back to the shop to have them completed correctly.  If the repairs were completed incorrectly due to your fault—claim denied.  We are then looking to see the condition of the vehicle as this will help us determine the pre-loss condition.  If the accident involved the front end but your back bumper is hanging off, the vehicle is in a state of disrepair and lack of care, we are going to value the car less.

5.   I then review the repair estimate to see how bad the damage was form the accident.  If you replaced a fender, we will pay but not very much.  Fenders are bolt on parts and made that way for a reason.  If we damage your frame or structural components then you will get paid more.

6.   Finally, we are going to look at the picture as a whole.  If you drive a 5 year old car and get in a fender bender- repairs are completed properly -- your car did not really lose value.  It actually probably went up in value.  The reason is that every car that is the same year/make/model as your 5 year old car has rock chips, small scratches, small dings, and other general wear and tear that a 5 year old car has.  Your newly repaired 5 year old car doesn’t have that.  You vehicle is actually in better condition that comp vehicles.  That’s not to say we won’t offer something, but once again it will not be very much.  You would be surprised at how many CARFAX reports I look at that have minor damage reported and CARFAX gives it a higher value than the average comp car.

I talk to people all of the time that sat the dealership told them they would lose (insert outrageous percentage here) of their value due to the accident.  You have to consider though, a dealership wants to buy your car from you as low as the possibly can.  It’s a business for profit.  If you fall for what they say… well I am not going to pay you because you can’t negotiate.

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Charlie Barone


For questions involving auto damage claims, collision repair, forensics, industry practices, we can help. We specialize in claims for loss of resale value (Diminished Value).


I have 30 years experience in the collision repair and body reconstruction field, both hands-on and from behind the desk. I hold a Master Certification from ASE in the Body and Paint category, as well as their certification in Estimating. I have authored over 120 feature and training articles for the largest trade journal devoted to the collision repair industry, and have given expert testimony in court dozens of times. Licensed physical damage appraiser in Pennsylvania and reciprocal states.

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