Do you own a high end vehicle like a Lamborghini, Mercedes, Cadillac, Infiniti, Bentley, Rolls Royse, Porsche, Maserati, BMW, Audi, Saab, Lexus or any other vehicle that is considered a luxury or exotic vehicle?
If so, you should certainly be thinking about diminished value if you were involved in a collision! You might not know the technical term for it but you know you’re gonna be put through the ringer when you go to trade that baby in and those are the FACTS!
No matter if you backed into a tree or if some negligent driver crashed into you, it is highly likely that your vehicle has lost value because of the simple fact that it was in an accident. Even if you took the vehicle to the best repair facility around, it doesn’t change the fact that your car was once wrecked.
Diminished value is a concept that has been around for nearly 90 years.
There is law relating to it in Georgia dating back to 1926!
If you’ve been in an accident in your luxury vehicle, what the heck can you do about it?
Find out for yourself straight from our experts!
Let me make this really clear up front: We are not tax professionals!
We do not give tax advice. We are simply pointing you to information to aid in your research when filing your taxes after taking a loss in value after an auto accident.
Did you know that casualty losses are deductible from your income taxes?
In Topic 515 on the IRS’s website, it discusses the types of losses that can be claimed on your income tax.
Diminished value is specifically listed!
This is a hard subject to explain to a lot of people.
Let me start by saying that you need to understand what is in this article before you blow your top at some insurance adjuster. There are ways around a reservation of rights defense, but you have to be stealthy and, above all, you have to remain calm.
If you have found this article, you are either an insurance adjuster doing some research or you are involved in a claim and being advised that your claim is not being paid at this time and that they are putting the claim on a “reservation of rights”.
I’m going to speak on Texas and specifically on auto insurance as Texas is my home State and auto insurance is where I have the most experience, although the reservation of rights or its equivalent exists in almost every State in the U.S. and can come about on claims that are not automobile claims.
If you would like to get a fair settlement for the total loss of your auto, you have found the right article. It will take a little work, but I think I can shed a little light on what you need to know in order to get a fair settlement.
As the owner of an appraisal and claim service company as well as a former licensed adjuster who has settled thousands of total loss claims, I will reveal the tricks to getting an insurance company to take you seriously.
In this article, I will dispel common misconceptions on total losses, tell you how to argue with computer programs and formulas, and give step-by-step instructions on how to best support your claim to get it settled.
Total loss disputes are common.
The value of your vehicle is very important to you, but it may not be as important to your insurance company or the insurance company of that guy or girl that hit your car and totaled it.
There are some options to help get a fair value on your vehicle.
The most common and accepted is to employ the services of a non-interested professional. If the professional is truly a non-interested expert, then their opinion should be based on accepted appraisal methods and proper training and experience. The value you get from an independent appraiser should be in line with the actual value of your vehicle as it relates to the terms of the insurance claim.
Recently, I had a case where an adjuster was negotiating an inherent lost market value claim based on values and condition descriptions found in Kelley Blue Book.
The amount of inherent lost value, or diminished value or DV as it is common to call it, that the adjuster was willing to pay was about $4000 less than what my research and opinion came out to.
Obviously, I argued that KBB was not accurate.
Naturally, the adjuster requested a synopsis on why I believed that using Kelley Blue Book was not a reliable method for researching diminished value.
I happily obliged the adjuster.
Want to read more about why using Kelley Blue Book (or any other online valuation guide) to calculate diminished value is a severely lacking and inaccurate method?
Back in May, I saw a sad story about a filmmaker in South Africa that was killed by the head butt of a giraffe out in the bush while filming for a movie.
In my mind, I related that to how the giant insurance companies just throw around invalid denials to diminished value claims to shut down the claimant from figuring out how in the heck to fight, therefore making them give up.
Until they find us.
A while ago, I was provided with a pretty big list of arguments that attempted to show why diminished market value on automobiles is not real, or at least why it is never very much.
I am going to address each one, point by point so as to be very thorough.
Mind you, these arguments were made by a professional who evaluates the market of stigma losses on automobiles.
Short Answer: No!
I think most people get this, but I get this question all the time, so I am writing this article in an attempt to properly explain why a total loss settlement does not include diminished value.
First, let us define Diminished Value:
Diminished Value is the loss in re-sale value of a vehicle after it has been in a wreck and then repaired.
Second, let us define Total Loss:
A Total Loss occurs when the insurance company decides that they are not going to repair your vehicle.
There are a few things to realize when you are dealing with an auto claim.
Total Loss Disputes
If you’ve done some Googling because of a total loss dispute with your insurance company, you probably came across information explaining your right to appraisal (also called the invoking the Appraisal Clause).
Unfortunately, because auto total loss disputes are usually less than $10,000.00, it is an area that hasn’t traditionally attracted attorneys (but there are a few attorneys that will fight for you).
In fact, because the amounts in dispute are typically under $10,000.00, most insurance companies don’t even train their claims staff about the appraisal clause.
I was an adjuster for over a decade and NOT EVEN ONCE was the appraisal clause mentioned. If you invoke the appraisal clause, you can bet that you will be dealing with a claims representative that has no clue what they are doing (if you’re an adjuster that thinks you know better, prove it).
I educate adjusters and insurance carriers every week about this little known right that their insureds have.
I’ll bet that no one has explained to you what I am about to explain . . .
First of all, the terms Actual Cash Value (ACV) and/or Fair Market Value (FMV) are sorely lacking and ambiguous when it comes to actually helping to define the value of a private passenger automobile.
In fact, the formal definition in almost every source one can find leaves out the MAIN ASPECT that would make the definition useful.
The terms ACV and FMV are so ambiguous that they are totally meaningless when it comes to figuring out the value of your vehicle.
Don’t believe me, let’s break it down.
Start with familiarizing yourself with the “formal” definitions.