Florida Diminished Value Claim: How to Fight for Yours
Florida diminished value laws are meant to protect the consumer – and the insurance companies won’t help. Here’s what you need to know to get what you deserve.
You pay for car insurance so you still get the whole value of your car even after an accident. But if you think a check written to compensate for repairs is enough, you better think again!
If you want to get a fair and objective compensation for a car’s lost value, you should file a Florida diminished value claim.
How Insurers Calculate Florida Diminished Value Claims
If you want an objective calculation of a car’s diminished value, talk to a used car dealer or even a savvy private buyer.
Smart buyers want to get used cars for the lowest price possible. And they will look at everything – the mileage, vehicle’s age, and accident history – to get an objective (and lower) resale price.
Insurance companies, however, use the 17c formula to calculate diminished value. It takes relevant factors into account. But the formula also puts an arbitrary 10% cap to slash payouts.
After an accident, you may get a check for $450 to cover the lost value of a $15,000-car. But then you decide to sell the car and found that it lost 40% of its value. Does a $450-payout for a $6,000-loss sound fair to you?
Does a $450-payout for a $6,000-loss sound fair to you?
A vehicle may lose even more value due to structural damage to its frame.
An insurance company may give you a long list of reasons for why and how they use the 17c formula. But whatever the reason, firmly say “no.”
Make Sure The Law Is On Your Side
Make sure the law is on your side before you even try to calculate a car’s Florida diminished value claim. For starters, you shouldn’t be at fault in the accident. The party at-fault’s insurance company will compensate you.
For starters, you shouldn’t be at fault in the accident. The party at-fault’s insurance company will compensate you.
And take note:
You can still push to be compensated for diminished value even if a property damage claim was settled.
Start With An Appraisal
Reselling is common for cars with an accident history. And the market is bustling with over 7 million used cars are resold in the US every year since 2012.
But even if you don’t want to sell the car, an appraisal will give you a fair assessment on how much value the vehicle has lost.
You may even want to consider producing a trade-in value letter from the car dealer, one with lower value due to the accident and repairs.
File A Claim And Get Ready To Negotiate
The insurance adjuster is NOT your friend.
You want to be polite to the adjuster. But know that their job is to settle a claim for the lowest amount possible. Heck! They’d nip your claim in the bud if they can.
Yes, some will even deny the existence of a diminished value claim. And if that fails, they’ll drop back to the 17c formula to reduce the payout by a large margin.
If you want to fight for the fair amount, you better be prepared to negotiate and put up with multiple exchanges. The process is often long and tedious, and hiring a lawyer in Florida who specialize in car collisions and diminished value can help.
Not only will the right lawyer take care of much of the legwork in filing a claim. The attorney can also help you take the issue to the court if insurers refuse the claim.