Where do some of these “diminished value experts” people get off?
I agree that insurance companies are not so inclined to pay diminished value, and people sometimes get dollar signs in their eyes when they are involved in an accident that is not their fault. The reality is that diminished value exists, but it is definitely hard to prove. There are arguments that adjusters use all the time to try and dismiss a valid claim and save a few bucks. The problem is that most of the “diminished value experts” out there have never actually been adjusters. Through a little research of my own, I have found that at least four of the companies that heavily advertise diminished value services have never even had an adjuster’s license, much less actual experience adjusting.
Tactics like picking and choosing favorable points from different case laws or inappropriate “rules” are all too common. The fact is that it takes someone who has experience adjusting claims, and has experience evaluating vehicle damages and values to properly evaluate the loss in market value of a vehicle. Simply being an auto salesman or a damage appraiser is not enough (in my opinion). Each only deals with one aspect of any vehicle’s value. The salesman is out to sell a vehicle for a profit and deals in retail values and “trade in” values, and the damage appraiser is trained to identify damaged parts, and on repair methods. Neither alone makes for a good diminished value appraiser. Even someone who has both experiences under their belt is not the prime candidate.
I have to toot my own horn a little in this field as I have been in front of Judges and have been challenged by attorneys as to the level of my expertise in determining diminished value. It is complicated. First of all, the most common type that is owed by an insurance company is inherent diminished value. One of the factors that goes into my formula for inherent diminished value is a fluctuating factor, “current market trends”. I have recently written a report, and since it is likely going to litigation, I won’t give details, but I’ll give a similar example so you can see my point.
If one owns a vehicle that is over 8 years old, many companies will not consider diminished value on the vehicle (until their insured is involved in a lawsuit). It is ridiculous to use this type of a “rule”. What if I have a 1965 Ford Mustang that is damaged in a collision? The marketability of the vehicle is a primary factor in determining how much value it could potentially lose due to sustaining collision damages and having to be repaired. In addition to the market tendencies, the location of the damages, the components damaged, the general condition of the vehicle and a many more factors are needed in order to accurately estimate a loss in market value.
If you are an insurance company that will not appropriately evaluate diminished value, be advised that I am out here, and my reports will be admitted at trials as my methods and credentials will pass a “Daubert Challenge”. I do not inflate any diminished value claim, and many times, I do not find any diminished value.
If you believe you have a diminished value claim, before you go off threatening suit, be sure your evidence is sound and not just some report filled with speculation by an untrained party.