If your vehicle was damaged in a collision, your insurance company will determine and pay for its value – or what the adjusters calculate the value to be. However, the exact valuation method is up to your insurer. Thus, the assessed worth may be lower than you expected and not enough to pay for a replacement vehicle or cover what you still owe on your car.
Understanding who determines the value of your car after a car accident is only the first step towards making the most of an insurance claim. Our attorneys can explain how the valuation process works and how to optimize your claim.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 747-3733
How do I Get Started on Covering My Losses After a Crash?
Since personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is required under Florida Statutes §627.736, you will typically file a claim with your insurance company after an accident. Unfortunately, this does not mean that your insurer will meet your target amount to pay for property damage.
For example, if you were driving a brand-new car, having an accident history can considerably reduce its resale value. This kind of loss may be something that exceeds your policy limits. In this case, you may have to consider bringing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
How do Car Insurance Claim Valuations Work?
After learning who determines the value of your car after a car accident, it’s crucial to understand what goes on during the claim valuation process. After contacting your insurance company, they will send an adjuster to evaluate the damage. If the adjuster classifies your car as totaled, they will proceed to appraisal and assign a value to your vehicle.
Your insurer can hire a third-party appraiser to make a separate estimate and ensure fairness. They will consider their own appraisal and that of the other party when presenting an offer to you. Moreover, you may also be able to get your own appraiser if your insurer approves.
In addition, the insurance company may expect you to obtain an estimate from a car dealer or mechanic to compare with theirs. The adjuster could even ask for several estimates if they think your initial estimate is too high. Do not forget that you can negotiate if you believe your insurer is offering an amount that does not sufficiently cover your losses.
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What Is the Significance of a Diminished Value Claim?
Another major concern in the claims process is how much you will get in financial recovery. To determine whether you are getting full and fair compensation, it helps to be aware that Florida is a diminished value state.
Simply stated, diminished value is the change in your car’s market value following an accident. Unfortunately, even with the best repairs, you may still have to deal with diminished value. Filing a diminished value claim with the liable party’s insurer can help you recover compensation for the drop in your car’s value after the crash.
You may be able to collect compensation on your third-party claim thanks to favorable case law regarding your right to collect diminished value. Such examples of case law include:
- McHale v. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. 409 So.2d 238 (1982),
- Airtech Service, Inc. v MacDonald Construction Company, 150 So. 2d 465 (Fla. List. Ct. App. 1963)
- Siegle vs. Progressive Consumer’s Insurance Company 819 So.2d 732 (Florida 2002).
Factors That Can Affect Your Diminished Value Claim
Take note that you can only seek diminished value compensation if you were not at fault for the accident. Additionally, you have to show evidence of the loss in value of your car. Such evidence can include photos proving the change in your vehicle’s appearance after repair or documentation of how repairs affected your car’s performance.
In most cases, an experienced appraiser determines the value of your car after a car accident using various metrics. If you wish to file a diminished value claim, Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a) gives you four years from the date of your accident to do so.
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Do I Have Grounds for a Diminished Value Claim?
You may be able to pursue a diminished value claim if:
- The other driver’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident.
- Your car’s decrease in overall value was due to the accident.
- The loss of value is permanent because you cannot restore your car’s original condition.
- The other party’s insurance policy offers diminished value coverage.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company does not acknowledge your claim, you may have the option to go to court.
Get Legal Help Today
If you wish to know more about who determines the value of your car after a car accident and other related matters, a member of our legal team would be glad to discuss them with you. You can also count on the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine to deal with insurance companies on your behalf and provide legal services to help protect your rights.
Contact us today at 1-800-747-3733 to get legal assistance with recovering compensation for your car’s diminished value and other costs.