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Establishing diminished value for insurance

jkeyser14

Member
Jul 30, 2012
164
121
Baltimore Area
I was sitting stopped waiting to turn when I got rear ended by a SUV traveling ~40 mph today. They were distracted and never even touched the brakes. TeslaCam caught it all.

Bumper, trunk lid, etc. are destroyed. Rear 1/4 panels appear to be ok to my unskilled eye, but the charge port won't open anymore. The car is still driveable. I am not sure if there is any structural damage and the insurance adjuster can't even look at the car for another week, so I don't know how much more damage may be hidden.

I am ready for an uphill battle with the insurance company regarding diminished value claims. Has anyone here had to make a diminished value claim yet? I searched here and found a similar post but it had no answers.

Finding comparable used cars with clean titles is easy. I haven't been able to find prices for non-salvaged Model 3 Long Range cars with an accident on their record.
 

VT_EE

Active Member
Apr 22, 2017
2,074
2,766
Maryland
My car had a similar issue although it was hit at a lower speed but did damage to a rear quarter panel. I paid $450 for a professional appraiser to inspect the car and do all that price comparison work. Wait to have this done until the car is repaired and you are happy with the results. I didn't even mention diminished value to their insurance until after they had paid my insurance for all the repairs (I worked the repair through my insurance). In Maryland you have 3 years to file DV. I forwarded the appraisal report to the at fault's insurance company and got an offer 25% lower than my appraiser's value. I sent a response asking to split the difference and for them to justify the lower valuation especially given the evidence my appraiser provided. Unfortunately, small claims court is limited to $5k in this state so I'm kind of at their mercy at this point. Going to circuit court would cost more than the 25% it would cost me if I just took their offer. I am waiting for a response. Feel free to fire any questions my way if you have any.
 

OCR1

Active Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,764
4,279
Southern California
Sorry to hear. Did the airbags go off? Do you have any pain from the impact? Post some pics if you can. It doesn’t sound like your car was totaled but you will definitely have diminished value after the repair. There are experts who can give you an appraisal or you can just negotiate to get an extra 5-10% with the insurance company and go from there.
 

JenniferMoore

Member
Jan 8, 2020
6
4
San Jose, CA
I used Saint Lucie Appraisal (for a Nissan Leaf dv claim) and it was a complete waste of time and money. I’m in California so obviously the laws vary by state.

I am very surprised that St. Lucie Appraisal gave you anything less than a great diminished value report. In addition, they helped immeasurably throughout what was an ordeal of a claim, never missing a call or failing to help us respond to the adjuster. I hired them based on many positive posts both in these forums and also in Teslamotors.com.
 

bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
418
271
East Bay Area
Indeed, the appraisal process and customer service with Saint Lucie was fine- no complaints there.

The problem is California doesn’t have a diminished value claim law, from what I understand. I quickly found this out once I went to small claims court with the report (for an additional fee) and got nothing in return.
 
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jkeyser14

Member
Jul 30, 2012
164
121
Baltimore Area
Update: My car was fixed by a Tesla certified bodyshop but I was very unhappy with the paint job (orange peel, voids in the paint, etc). Currently waiting for them to repair the paint.

The insurance company made an initial offer of diminished value that was insultingly low. I am currently talking with lawyers to discuss my options.
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,989
2,305
Rancho Cucamonga
Indeed, the appraisal process and customer service with Saint Lucie was fine- no complaints there.

The problem is California doesn’t have a diminished value claim law, from what I understand. I quickly found this out once I went to small claims court with the report (for an additional fee) and got nothing in return.

You may want to read this
Has California Diminished Value Law Changed? ⋆ Petty Details - Diminished Value Experts

This is on Petty Details website and they were recommended on some of the forum members here for DV in California.
 

JenniferMoore

Member
Jan 8, 2020
6
4
San Jose, CA
This is the new jury instructions in the State of California which I never would have known. Those guys were totally on the ball. Very surprising to read a negative review about St. Lucie, glad you backed that up with your words.

CACI 3903J – Damage to Personal Property (Economic Damage) The harm to plaintiff’s automobile.
To recover damages for harm to personal property, plaintiff must prove the reduction in the automobile’s value or the reasonable cost of repairing it, whichever is less. If there is evidence of both, plaintiff is entitled to the lesser of the two amounts.
However, if you find that the automobile can be repaired, but after repairs it will be worth less than it was before the harm, the damages are:
(1) the difference between its value before the harm and its lesser value after the repairs have been made; plus
(2) the reasonable cost of making the repairs. The total amount awarded may not exceed the automobile’s value before the harm occurred.
 
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Reactions: WesC

Ryanide

Member
Dec 7, 2019
29
32
Los Angeles
This is why so many people have neck/back and emotional injuries from accidents. Helps to recover extra costs. I'm sure there are 100's of injury lawyers who will be willing to help.
 
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Reactions: OCR1

rickdogg82

Member
Apr 28, 2019
289
265
Orange County, CA
Curious about how this all turns out when a car with a diminished value claim is passed on to the next owner. How close was the claim to difference in sales price? I never hear stories about not getting enough. Did you pass on the diminished value to the next person willingly? Does diminished value stay with the car? In other worlds, if insurance gives you $5K becasue the car is now worth $5K less, will they subtract this from the value should the car be involved in an accident that requires it be totaled?
 

OCR1

Active Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,764
4,279
Southern California
Curious about how this all turns out when a car with a diminished value claim is passed on to the next owner. How close was the claim to difference in sales price? I never hear stories about not getting enough. Did you pass on the diminished value to the next person willingly? Does diminished value stay with the car? In other worlds, if insurance gives you $5K becasue the car is now worth $5K less, will they subtract this from the value should the car be involved in an accident that requires it be totaled?

It’s not that scientific. If the car was worth $40K at the time of the accident, you may be able to negotiate $4K in diminished value, so let’s say you argue that because of the accident the car is now only worth $36K.

This only matters if you turn around and sell the car immediately after it is repaired. And if you do, you will have to disclose that it was involved in an accident and people will offer you less for it than a comparable car that is accident free. Presumably about $4K less.

But let’s say instead you drive the car for five more years and now due to age it’s really only a $15K car accident free. So with the accident history you might end up having to sell it for $13,000. So you only actually incurred a $2K hit because the car’s value diminished so much anyway over time that as a percentage the diminished value is not all that significant.

So in short, the longer you keep the car the less the diminished value matters.
 

rickdogg82

Member
Apr 28, 2019
289
265
Orange County, CA
It’s not that scientific.
I understand the concept but more curious about how it all works out in the real world. My other make car is one where accident and service history affect value dramatically but even on those forums I have never heard of anyone getting screwed by a DV claim that was too low.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,299
7,596
Canyon Lake,CA
Seems like most insurance companies will bargain with you. First a low offer, then increasing offers as you apply pressure. They usually end up with a final offer that is close to net what you would recieve if you went all the way with trial. In other works they would offer you close to what you would end up after legal costs of litigation.
 

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