Diminished value, or “DV”, is the loss in a damaged vehicle’s market value after repairs have been completed. It may be the best kept secret insurance companies don’t want you to know about.
Suppose your car was damaged in an accident. It was then repaired and the repairs were absolutely perfect. This car has still lost value since it is now perceived by any potential buyer as “damaged goods.” This type of loss in value is known as “inherent diminished value” as it applies regardless of the quality of repairs. There are two other types of diminished value as well which are related to the quality of the repair.
“Insurance related diminished value” applies when an insurance company did not allow for needed repair procedures in the claim or when they required substandard parts to be used in the repair. As an example, a car was damaged on the right front fender and the inner panels also suffered minor damage; the insurance company specified replacing the fender with an imitation fender (see Parts Information – Are They All The Same? and did not allow for any repair to the inner panels even though they are visible when the hood is open. The imitation fender and the uncompleted repairs will both diminish the value of this car.
“Repair related diminished value” applies when a repair shop was paid to perform needed repairs but did not do them correctly. For example, if a repair shop was paid to repair and refinish a door but the paint is dull or has visible sandpaper scratches, this car has suffered repair related diminished value.
If your vehicle has been in an accident, you have lost money! If you were not at fault, this loss is owed to you by the person responsible for the accident and/or their insurance company. And this is even if repairs were completed correctly! If you were at fault and are filing a claim with your own insurance company, unfortunately you may not be able to collect Diminished Value because many insurance policies now exclude coverage for Diminished Value on first party claims (claims filed with your own insurance company).
Diminished value has existed since before horse and buggy days, but has always been difficult to specify as an exact dollar amount. The first step in collecting the amount of diminished value owed to you is to obtain a Diminished Value report or appraisal from an experienced and qualified service such as Collision Consulting. Services such as Collision Consulting can help you collect what is owed to you.