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Diminished Value Frequently Asked Questions

What is Diminished Value?

Your vehicle loses its original market value after being in an accident. This in turn makes your vehicular value drop below the initial market value if you attempt to sell it post-accident. Even if you have repaired the damages, you still will have trouble finding a buyer to pay fair market value because of your dirty Carfax record. Therefore, the law allows you to seek a diminished value claim from the at-fault party's insurance company to recoup your lost market


In the realm of automobiles, the concept of diminished value is crucial yet often misunderstood. When a vehicle is involved in an accident, its value can decrease even after repairs have been made, due to factors such as damage history and perceived reliability. This phenomenon is known as diminished value, and comprehending its implications is essential for both buyers and sellers in the automotive market.

What is Diminished Value? Diminished value refers to the reduction in a vehicle's resale worth after it has been damaged and subsequently repaired. Even if the repairs are performed meticulously and restore the vehicle to its pre-accident condition, the fact that it has a history of damage can impact its value in the eyes of potential buyers.

Types of Diminished Value:

  1. Inherent Diminished Value: This type of diminished value occurs due to the perception that a vehicle with a history of accidents is less desirable than a similar vehicle with no such history, even if repairs have been carried out expertly.

  2. Immediate Diminished Value: Immediate diminished value is the reduction in value that occurs immediately after an accident. It reflects the decrease in the vehicle's worth due to the visible damage it has sustained.

  3. Repair-Related Diminished Value: Repair-related diminished value occurs when repairs, although performed properly, are not sufficient to restore the vehicle to its pre-accident condition. In such cases, the vehicle may still have underlying issues that affect its value.

Factors Affecting Diminished Value: Several factors can influence the extent of diminished value a vehicle experiences:

  1. Severity of Damage: The extent of damage sustained by the vehicle in the accident plays a significant role. Vehicles with extensive damage typically experience higher levels of diminished value.

  2. Vehicle Age and Mileage: Older vehicles or those with high mileage may experience greater diminished value since they are perceived to have less remaining useful life.

  3. Vehicle History: A vehicle's accident history, even if the damage has been repaired, can impact its value. Buyers may be wary of purchasing a vehicle with a history of accidents.

  4. Market Demand: The demand for a particular make and model in the used car market can affect its diminished value. Vehicles in high demand may experience less diminished value compared to those with lower demand.

How to Determine Diminished Value: Determining the diminished value of a vehicle can be challenging and often requires professional appraisal. Several methods may be used, including:

  1. Comparative Market Analysis: Comparing the value of similar vehicles with and without accident histories can provide insight into the diminished value.

  2. Professional Appraisal: Hiring a professional appraiser experienced in assessing diminished value can provide a more accurate valuation.

  3. Diminished Value Calculators: Online tools and calculators can provide rough estimates of diminished value based on factors such as vehicle make, model, age, and extent of damage.

Conclusion: Automobile diminished value is a significant consideration for both buyers and sellers in the used car market. Understanding the factors that contribute to diminished value and how to assess it accurately can help individuals make informed decisions when buying or selling a vehicle. Whether seeking compensation for diminished value after an accident or negotiating a fair price for a used car, awareness of this concept is essential for navigating the complexities of the automotive market.


When Should I File a Diminished Value Claim? 

It is appropriate to pursue a diminished value claim once your vehicle is fully repaired to pre-accident condition. Diminished value is calculated based on the nature of the damage to your vehicle and overall evidence of repairs. A thorough review of the final bill from the bodyshop, a visual inspection of the repaired vehicle, and reviewing the Carfax are a few important factors in determining diminished value. 


How Long Can I Wait To File a Diminished Value Claim? In Years:






How Long Does The Process of Recovering My Settlement Take?

The timeline of recovering diminished value from the at-fault insurance company can take as little as a few days. It is also not uncommon to see claims span out weeks and in rare cases, months. It all depends on the insurance company diminished value policy. One thing that is constant however, DVAC will remain involved throughout the timeline of your DOV claim for advice and counsel. For more detail on the process, click link below: 

The DVAC Process


What is a Total Loss Report?

If your vehicle has been totaled in an accident, how do you know what a fair settlement is? The insurance company has their idea of a fair figure, and you have your own idea. DVAC will help you arrive at a realistic, mutually agreeable number based on comprehensive market research. A total loss report will compile all of our findings with an actual cash value on your vehicle.  


What's Included In My Report?

Each diminished value appraisal report is equipped with a vAuto, NADA Archival Valuation, and a complimentary Carfax. vAuto captures 100 percent of all USA sales data on any vehicle. Utilizing this tool, we can compile an extremely accurate pre-accident value and assess the diminished value based on the nature of the repair records. We include a detailed photo file of your vehicle and the final bill from the bodyshop. Once put together, a comprehensive diminished value appraisal report of roughly 20-30 pages is sent directly to your email. 

Do I need an appraisal if I plan to donate my vehicle?

Vehicles worth more than $5,000 are required by the IRS to obtain a professional appraisal to receive your tax write-off. Vehicles valued under $5,000 do not require an accompanying appraisal however it is advisable in order to avoid auditing.


Do I need an appraisal for my custom or collector car?

Insurance companies use an appraisal to determine the fair market value for your collectible vehicle.  A certified appraisal from a licensed appraiser will help ensure that in the event of a collision, you get the compensation that is due to you.


Do I need an appraisal to purchase a vehicle?

This answer will vary depending on the lending institution you are obtaining a loan through. Some lenders may require an independent appraisal to determine the true market value of the vehicle you intend to buy.

What about “Certified Used Vehicles”?

Many car dealerships are offering “Certified Used Vehicles” on their lots.  Most dealerships will have differing policies and guidelines on what qualifies as “certified”. In many cases, they are looking for even the most miniscule damage history so that your trade-in doesn’t fit the “certified” criteria. In this case, you won’t get the same value for your vehicle as if it had a clean title. DVAC can help you recover this diminished value.

Been In An Auto Accident? 

If your vehicle has been damaged in an accident and you're concerned about its true value, simply call DVAC Diminished Value Appraisal Claims at 877-879-0101 for a FREE consultation. You can also view our blog for more case-specific information. 

Length of time to file diminished value appraisal claim

It is usually in your best interest to obtain your own independent appraisal when negotiating a settlement with your insurance company. Often times, large insurance companies utilize automated appraisal generators that simply cannot take your situation into consideration the way a live person can.

We can ensure that all factors are taken into consideration and will look out for your best interest.

 If you have been offered an insurance settlement that you feel is unfair, we can help you recover what you are owed

Call Us Today at  (877) 879-0101

We’ll work diligently on your behalf to generate a fair vehicle appraisal and help you recoup the value of your automobile

Get A Diminished Value / Total Loss Claim Consultation from one of our Licensed Appraisers

Our Licensed Diminished Value Appraisers provide you with personalized up-to-date information regarding your diminished value claim. We will make sure you understand the procedure and what possible compensation is owed to you.


Your Personal Consultation will address the following:

– A comprehensive review of repair costs and estimates.

– An objective determination of whether your vehicle qualifies for diminished value or qualifies for a total loss settlement.

– An approximate range of compensation you may be paid for your loss.


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