If your car incurs property damage due to an accident, the responsible party’s insurance company will pay for the repairs to your vehicle. However, the loss of value that results is often times not accounted for in these claims.
Florida law allows the vehicle owner to recover the diminished value of the vehicle from the at-fault insurance carrier. This is especially beneficial with luxury or antique cars but these laws are also applicable to standard “every day” vehicles. You may qualify to initiate a diminished value claim if you were not at fault for the accident, the vehicle is repairable (not a total loss), and you are the owner of financer of the vehicle.
In Siegle v. Progressive Consumers Insurance Company, 819 So. 2d 732 (2002), the Florida Supreme Court recognized that “one may sustain an economic value loss [even] when the repair of damage is perfect in every respect”, confirming Florida vehicle owners’ long-standing right to recover for the diminished value of their vehicles even after having been repaired.
There are 3 types of diminished value claims:
- Immediate: the difference between the vehicle value immediately before the accident compared to its value immediately after the accident
- Inherent: the stigma associated with a vehicle having been in a previous accident significantly affects the resale value and perception of the vehicle’s reliability and desirability, even if the car has been restored as closely as possible to its original condition
- Repair-related: the loss of value associated with poor repair work