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Diminished Value Claim (CA) for minor damage in 4-car Pile-Up?

Rareribeye

Member
Oct 3, 2019
8
0
California
So I was involved in a 4-car pile-up while driving in the carpool lane this morning in SoCal. My 6-month old (14K milage) Model 3 suffered the least amount of damage, as I was the front-most car. The rear-most 4th car (which was a Bentley) hit the 3rd car, which hit the 2nd car, which then bumped into me (1st and front-most car). Without a shadow of a doubt, I will not be at-fault. The Bentley owner will likely be at-fault in this situation, although I don't know whether I will have to deal with his insurance or the person that directly rear-ended me instead.

My rear bumper is scraped up, including one of the rear proximity sensors. If I had to guess, damages will come out to be relatively minor/cosmetic, with full rear bumper replacement being the extent of the repairs. My question is, if this is worth pursuing for Diminished Value (DV) Claim in California. I have no experience with this kind of thing and the scenario is unique compared to other posts I have been referencing.

Because police were called in, the accident will likely show up on the car's record, so I believe this will affect resell value. I would like to re-coup as much as possible from insurance to cover any effect on resell value, even if it's only $1,000. If pursuing a DV claim with the at-fault insurer will lead to premium increases with my insurance, then I would rather not go through that headache. Any advice or thoughts on the situation are greatly appreciated.
 

kingkong5

Member
Aug 23, 2019
99
92
Orange County, CA
I was just the front car in a 3-car crash, waiting at a red light. Bumper damage was minimal, and I went through the last car's insurance (GEICO). They took care of everything, had me take it to Prestige Auto in Mission Viejo, set me up with a rental car, while they fixed up the damage. The refinished bumper looks better than new. Because the damage was minimal, basically not much more than fixing a key mark or deep scratch, GEICO said they wouldn't be reporting it to DMV. Also, because all the damage was minimal and no one was hurt, we didn't have a police report filed the night of the accident.

As a result, GEICO said there wouldn't be a diminished value claim since the accident isn't being reported. In California we have a 3 year statute of limitations to file for diminished value, so for now you can play ball, get the car repaired, wait a couple months and pull a Carfax to see if you have any blemish on your vehicle history, then go back to insurance for DV at that time. Good luck, glad you're ok, cars can be repaired and fixed, people not as easily.
 

Rareribeye

Member
Oct 3, 2019
8
0
California
I was just the front car in a 3-car crash, waiting at a red light. Bumper damage was minimal, and I went through the last car's insurance (GEICO). They took care of everything, had me take it to Prestige Auto in Mission Viejo, set me up with a rental car, while they fixed up the damage. The refinished bumper looks better than new. Because the damage was minimal, basically not much more than fixing a key mark or deep scratch, GEICO said they wouldn't be reporting it to DMV. Also, because all the damage was minimal and no one was hurt, we didn't have a police report filed the night of the accident.

As a result, GEICO said there wouldn't be a diminished value claim since the accident isn't being reported. In California we have a 3 year statute of limitations to file for diminished value, so for now you can play ball, get the car repaired, wait a couple months and pull a Carfax to see if you have any blemish on your vehicle history, then go back to insurance for DV at that time. Good luck, glad you're ok, cars can be repaired and fixed, people not as easily.

Thank you for the amazing input! Yes, everyone seemed to be okay thankfully, although I wouldn't be surprised if the 2 middle cars of the 4-car pile up claim medical against the rear-most car, who seemed to be quite wealthy and senile.

Hopefully my case pans out similarly to yours where the damage is minimal enough to not be reported to the DMV. If it is reported, however, I am more than willing to fight for a DV claim.
 

kingkong5

Member
Aug 23, 2019
99
92
Orange County, CA
When the time comes, bring it up in writing to your adjuster that you are concerned about diminished value and see what they offer. If it is not to your satisfaction, after I got into my accident more than a few people on this board suggested a business called Petty Details Home ⋆ Petty Details - Diminished Value Experts which can provide the independent data you'd need if you were to take the insurance company to court over DV.
 

Rareribeye

Member
Oct 3, 2019
8
0
California
When the time comes, bring it up in writing to your adjuster that you are concerned about diminished value and see what they offer. If it is not to your satisfaction, after I got into my accident more than a few people on this board suggested a business called Petty Details Home ⋆ Petty Details - Diminished Value Experts which can provide the independent data you'd need if you were to take the insurance company to court over DV.
You are awesome. Thank you for all of the detailed advice. My insurance company is Ameriprise and my coverage is also quite good. I just hope they don't increase my premiums if I pursue DV, especially considering I am nowhere near at-fault in this scenario.
 

Big Dog

Active Member
Mar 7, 2016
1,644
1,639
Irvine, CA
can't answer your q about DV but just know that CA insurance law protects you from any increase in premiums in such a situation, so feel free to go thru your own insurance carrier and let them deal with the other guy.

btw: my D's Audi got hit in the rear bumper and Audi charged $850 just to recalibrate the rear bumper sensor! (Insurance gasped at the price, but then paid it.)
 

rickdogg82

Member
Apr 28, 2019
289
243
Orange County, CA
If you document the damage and repair, and it is really only a rear bumper cover/sensors/paint at most, I am not sure there is any measurable loss of value. Sure some will pass over a car with a damage report without investigating, but in these cases the repair could be $1000 or $20000 and it would not have mattered.
 

Adam3

Member
Oct 4, 2015
769
1,022
USA
DV for repainting a plastic bumper cover? Will that even show up in the vehicle's history? Just for reference - BMW commonly resprays front and rear bumpers on CPO cars before putting them up for sale.
 
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FFR6288

Member
Nov 5, 2019
90
100
Mesa, AZ
FWIW, I had a guy back into my Kia Stinger with his trailer hitch. He just hit the right rear wheel, and the body was not even touched. His insurance paid for a new wheel ($700 !!) and I thought that was the end of it. I had not heard of "diminished value", but I sure found out when I wanted to trade it in on my Model 3. This single incident reduced my trade-in value by over $2000.
 
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Burrito

Member
Apr 29, 2019
581
417
New jersey
A repainted bumper doesn’t show up in a report, a minor accident does. So a buyer would likely pass because car fax will show “minor accident” even if it was a scratch. There’s no distinction. Like mentioned above. Could affect the value of a trade or sale by a few grand and make it harder to sell In the first place. I was rear ended in November, extremely minor, needed a new rear reflector and paint work. Cost 2k for the woman’s insurance to pay. I’m going to wait a few weeks and pull a report to see if my car is dinged and file a DV if so. I’d rather not but..
 

Adam3

Member
Oct 4, 2015
769
1,022
USA
FWIW, I had a guy back into my Kia Stinger with his trailer hitch. He just hit the right rear wheel, and the body was not even touched. His insurance paid for a new wheel ($700 !!) and I thought that was the end of it. I had not heard of "diminished value", but I sure found out when I wanted to trade it in on my Model 3. This single incident reduced my trade-in value by over $2000.

Wow, good to know!
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,185
9,913
SF Bay Area
With whom and how does one file for DV? I imagine it's with your insurance company, but with whom within?

It can only be filed against the other party's insurance, not yours. If you file an accident claim through your insurance they will work to resolve it and get your car fixed but that's it. It's one of the reasons a lot of people will go through the trouble of filing against the other person's insurance. If you call your insurance after you've been involved in an accident, one of the questions they will ask is who's insurance do you want to claim this on? If yours, you have to pay the deductible and you'll be treated under your insurance coverage (ie car rental too) and if your not at fault, they will go after the other's insurance to get your deductible back for you at some point. As far as I've seen based on the few accidents where someone has hit or backed into our cars over the years, they never tell you about diminished value. We've had the same agent for decades so maybe it's just them but that's been our experience. Only found out about it from TMC members here.
 

0ptions

Member
Feb 28, 2017
347
326
Michigan
It can only be filed against the other party's insurance, not yours. If you file an accident claim through your insurance they will work to resolve it and get your car fixed but that's it. It's one of the reasons a lot of people will go through the trouble of filing against the other person's insurance. If you call your insurance after you've been involved in an accident, one of the questions they will ask is who's insurance do you want to claim this on? If yours, you have to pay the deductible and if not your fault they will go after the other's insurance to get that back for you at some point. As far as I've seen based on the few accidents where someone has hit or backed into our cars over the years, they never tell you about diminished value. We've had the same agent for decades so maybe it's just them but that's been our experience. Only found out about it from TMC members here.
Thanks. Both me and the person who hit me have Progressive for our insurer. So, do I talk to the person who handled my claim or someone else? Who would I ask for if I called the standard number I guess is my question.
Also, since we both have the same provider, does that complicate things or make it easier?
Thanks again for your help.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,185
9,913
SF Bay Area
Thanks. Both me and the person who hit me have Progressive for our insurer. So, do I talk to the person who handled my claim or someone else? Who would I ask for if I called the standard number I guess is my question.
Also, since we both have the same provider, does that complicate things or make it easier?
Thanks again for your help.

Before I got my Model 3 I was driving a 2001 top of the line Avalon which was starting to show its age but really in good condition (took it in regularly for maintenance and took good care of it). Had State Farm and my car was rear ended exiting a shopping center waiting for cross traffic to move ( person thought traffic had moved and left off brake and hit accelerator). Took pretty good hit and it messed up trunk and frame. I wanted my Model 3, which wasn’t sold yet, so didn’t want the car totaled and forced to get another car at this point. The driver also had State Farm.

I reported it to my agent and she asked whose insurance I wanted to claim under, chose other driver who admitted fault to her agent. My car did get repaired (guy did great work and paint matching, almost at point of totalling, think work was in $5k range) and don’t recall having to use my deductible since it was same company. I thought about going for diminished value on driver and I’m sure I did lose some money on it but the car was old and all I got from CarMaxx was $1K a few years later. We figured after 17 years of use we got our value out of it and just weren’t sure anything we would have recovered if I got diminished value would have been worth going that route. Believe you do have 3 years in California to file however. For a newer model car I would definitely recommend looking into a DV claim. For minimal damage however hard to say if it would be worth it but worth check it out.
 
Last edited:

MyWifeandI

Member
Oct 31, 2014
43
11
Phoenix
@Rareribeye Ask GEICO if they are recommending that you sell your car without disclosing the accident history. Of course they will say no which means that the incident not appearing on Carfax is irrelevant.
 

STLUCIE

Member
Mar 17, 2020
15
7
Fort Pierce, FL
I was just the front car in a 3-car crash, waiting at a red light. Bumper damage was minimal, and I went through the last car's insurance (GEICO). They took care of everything, had me take it to Prestige Auto in Mission Viejo, set me up with a rental car, while they fixed up the damage. The refinished bumper looks better than new. Because the damage was minimal, basically not much more than fixing a key mark or deep scratch, GEICO said they wouldn't be reporting it to DMV. Also, because all the damage was minimal and no one was hurt, we didn't have a police report filed the night of the accident.

As a result, GEICO said there wouldn't be a diminished value claim since the accident isn't being reported. In California we have a 3 year statute of limitations to file for diminished value, so for now you can play ball, get the car repaired, wait a couple months and pull a Carfax to see if you have any blemish on your vehicle history, then go back to insurance for DV at that time. Good luck, glad you're ok, cars can be repaired and fixed, people not as easily.

KingKong5, The accident does not need to show up on Carfax or Autocheck in order to qualify for a diminished value claim. To prove this, ask GEICO if they are telling you to sell the car without disclosing the accident. Ask them to respond in writing. There's no way that they would say yes so what is the difference if the wreck is on Carfax or not, since you would be disclosing the incident anyway? We've prepared thousands of DV reports - hundreds of Teslas among them. There isn't a lame insurance company excuse for non-payment that we have not heard.
 

eye.surgeon

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
1,368
2,014
California
I successfully claimed diminished value from the insurance company of a woman that rear ended me at a red light. I hired a guy I found on this forum to do the back and forth for me with the insurance company. spent like $300 and made back 10 times that.
 
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STLUCIE

Member
Mar 17, 2020
15
7
Fort Pierce, FL
Good job. We tell all clients that you'll need two things, a good appraisal and persistence. If you hadn't supplied the second part your efforts would have failed.
 

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