Although the auto insurance company may want you to believe it unequivocally sets the value of a vehicle involved in an accident in Virginia, the amount the insurance company comes up with is something you can challenge. You will have to deal with the concept of diminished value when considering who determines the value of your car after a car accident in Virginia.
Understanding Diminished Value Compensation
Diminished value compensation as defined by the Virginia Code § 46.2-1600 is an important concept to understand after your car has been involved in an accident. You may not feel the effects of the diminished value of your repaired car until well after the crash, which adds to the frustration.
Selling a Repaired Car
After the vehicle has been fixed, it will be marked as having been damaged in a crash in reports that track the history of individual cars.
When you attempt to trade in or sell the car, the purchasing party will see the designation that the vehicle had been repaired after an accident, meaning you almost certainly will receive a diminished value for the vehicle.
This leaves you with a financial penalty because of the accident. You are entitled to compensation for diminished value; however, the insurance company may attempt to pay you nothing or less than you deserve for the diminished value of the car after repairs are made.
Additionally, the insurance company may reduce the amount it is willing to pay for replacement parts, such as tires, meaning you may have some out-of-pocket costs. If you own a rare vehicle where new parts are expensive, this difference can be quite substantial.
Calculating Diminished Value After an Accident
Dealing with an insurance company that is applying a diminished value calculation to your vehicle can be a frustrating process. Unfortunately, there is no standardization for calculating diminished value throughout the auto insurance market, which means you are subject to the whims of your insurance company and its adjusters.
Finding a Fair Car Value
After an accident, it is important to check third party information to find a fair market range for your vehicle’s make and model. You often can use web site calculators to find a fair price range for the car, depending on its mileage and accessory packages. You can survey two or three of these calculators to help you determine a fair price range for your vehicle.
Insurance Company Calculations
Unfortunately, the insurance company may determine the valuation of the vehicle using estimates from companies that are not accessible to the public. This makes it difficult to double-check the work of the insurance adjuster assigned to your case.
You cannot obtain the data the insurer used to determine the diminished value. However, you can use the estimates you have received from other parties to negotiate with the insurer. An attorney can help.
Receiving Actual Cash Value for Your Vehicle in Virginia
The insurance company should pay you the actual cash value for the car. However, because it is the insurance company that determines the value of your car after a car accident in Virginia, be aware that some insurers may attempt to use the trade-in value for the car as the basis for your payout. This is something you should not accept.
Questioning the Insurer’s Decision of Your Car’s Value
If you believe the insurance company is not treating you fairly as it determines the value of your car after a car accident in Virginia, you can seek representation to protect your rights.
Contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at (571) 229-1800 today, and we can begin working on your behalf. Because Jim Parrish worked as an insurance company lawyer before opening his practice in Virginia, he knows how to combat common techniques the insurance company uses to attempt to reduce the amount it will pay for your vehicle. We can work to recover all damages you deserve in your case. We may have a limited time to do so under Virginia Code § 8.01-243.