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What Is Diminished Value?

Diminished value is the difference between the value of your car immediately before a car accident and the value of your car immediately after a car accident.   It is also sometimes referred to as diminution of value.

Diminished value vehicles

Which of these cars has been in an accident?

Can I Make A Diminished Value Claim


One major area of confusion relating to whether your state laws permit diminished value claim arises because people talking about diminished value are not differentiating between first party claims and third party claims for diminished value.

First Party Diminished Value Claim:

Third Party Diminished Value Claim:

Third party diminished value claims are claims against the at fault driver or their insurance company. For example, if you are in the same car accident above, but you choose to have the other persons company pay for your repairs, you are making a third party property damage claim.

Many states have laws or case law that either do not allow a claim for diminution of value against your own insurance company (first party claim) or allow the insurance company to include language in the policy limiting or abolishing the right to claim diminished value against your own carrier.

What most states do allow is a claim against the at fault driver for diminished value. The claim is based on standard tort law, and is similar to a claim that can be made for property damage and injury claims.

So, in conclusion, your state may limit a diminished value claim when making a first party claim, but most states allow a third party claim. Therefore, if you are not at fault in the car accident, you can pursue a diminished value claim against the at fault driver.

When you hear about diminished value claims after a car accident, the claim is for the inherent loss of value your car suffers as a result of it being in an accident. This is important to understand and what it means is that it does not matter if your car was fixed perfectly, it still has inherent loss of value simply because it was in an accident.

If your car has been involved in a car accident and has been repaired, you are owed diminished value by the person that caused the accident.  What is diminished value will show you how to make a successful diminished value claim.

How To Make A Diminished Value Claim

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Sample Diminished Value Claim Letter

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Important Information

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If you are injured as well, you should seriously consider hiring a personal injury lawyer.  Likewise, if your diminished value report comes back and the value is high, you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you in your recovery.


There are several ways to get a diminished value report.  Online, mail order or from a local shop are the most common. Diminished value reports cost money and good ones cost more than others.  Unless you are certain your diminished value claim will be  for a significant amount of money, consider a basic or preliminary report from a company online.

There are many report companies that for a nominal fee, will prepare a basic diminished value report.  Now this report might not stand up in a court of law, but paying $15-$30 for a basic report to see if you have a claim worth pursuing is better than paying $150-$300 for a report and then finding out your diminished value claim is not worth your time.

Look for companies advertising easy diminished value reports or diminished value quotes.  If you have not seen these advertised, do a Google search here to locate such a service.

First party diminished value claims are claims you initiate against your own carrier.  For example, if you are in an car accident and you or your lawyer direct your own carrier to fix your car under your collision coverage, you are making a first party property damage claim.  

Diminished Value Blog

News, Tips and Stories

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What You Need Before Making A Claim

In order to make a diminished value claim you need proof of the diminution of value your...

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Claim Form - Auto Accident

If Your Making A General Claim For Your Auto Accident Click Here