Success Stories

  • I had hired another Diminished Value company and I was only able to get $3,000 and I was so frustrated. Finally, I called Autoloss.com... After purchasing the Diminished Value appraisal and some follow up with your employees, Farmers wrote me a check for $15,000... I could not have done it without you.

    — John Basset
    Houston, Texas

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Articles

diminished value reportIf you are seeking a Diminished Value claim on a vehicle, when filing the claim with the insurance company, one essential element is the Diminished Value report. Not all reports are created equal. It's important that it lays out all the important details, stating your case in the most effective manner possible. Here are some of the most crucial details to include:

Identifying Features of the Vehicle

This is fairly rudimentary stuff, but it's important to have a detailed layout of all the identifying features of the vehicle in the report, from the make and model, all the way to the smallest of upgrades.

Damage Assessment

Your diminished value report should include a thorough assessment of the vehicle's damage. This starts with a detailed report of the condition the vehicle was in prior to the accident, which helps establish the pre-loss fair market value.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, since every vehicle depreciates differently, depending on various factors, such as market demand, brand, and manufacturing quality.

Local Comparables

When you are making a case for what your vehicle is worth, a comprehensive list of local comparables is essential. The diminished value report should include four or more dealer-advertised prices on vehicles that closely resemble yours, including the year, make, model, body style, engine configuration, and other optional features. Dealer examples are preferable to private party, since laypeople will have a higher probability of placing an unrealistic price on their vehicle than the professionals at a well-established and reputable dealership.

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car insurance ratesIf you're in the market for new car insurance, depending on where you live, you may also want to be in the market for a new residence. Here is a look at some of the most and least expensive car insurance rates by state, according to a recent survey by insure.com.

Most Expensive

1. Louisiana (Average Premium: $2,699)

It may be known for the free-spirited Mardi Gras, spicy food and hot jazz, but the party gets rained on by the fact that residents of the Bayou State also pay the highest insurance premiums in the Union.

While Louisiana has had the misfortune of catastrophic natural disasters, rate are affected by a high rate of comprehensive claims, their drivers file more bodily injury claims than those in other states.

2. Michigan (Average Premium: $2,520)

Why such high premiums in the Wolverine State? Maybe it has little something to do with the fact that Michigan guarantees unlimited, lifetime personal injury protection (PIP) in car accidents. No other state does this.

A Michigan car insurance company pays up to $500,000 for car accident- related medical treatment for the policyholder, their household family members, and passengers if they don’t have PIP coverage. In comparison, Florida caps its PIP coverage at $10,000.

3. Georgia (Average Premium: $2,155)

According to Georgia's Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division, "The minimum limits of liability required under Georgia law are Bodily Injury Liability of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per occurrence and Property Damage Liability of $25,000 per occurrence."

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toyota-camryToyota makes some of most popular vehicles on the market, so it's only logical that many of the cases we deal with are those on behalf of Toyota owners. It’s especially important for Toyota owners to be aware of their Diminished Value claims rights since Toyota’s certified used vehicle Program rejects cars damaged in accidents.

Here are just a few examples of our happy Toyota owners who were not so happy to find their vehicles were a Total Loss after their accidents. Fortunately, we were able to help them get a significantly higher settlement from their insurance companies than what they were initially offered.

Larry H. of Washington State was offered $13,700 from Progressive Insurance for his totaled Toyota. We got him $18,000 when all was said and done. Judith W. of California was offered $8,541 from State Farm for her totaled Toyota. We got her $13,000.

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car frame damageYou may not notice it if you aren't a trained auto body repair expert, but damage to your vehicle’s frame will set you back financially when you are ready to sell it. We live in the age of vehicle transparency, where its history is available for all to see through reports like those provided by Carfax. If repairs are documented, consumers are empowered to inform themselves about it.

There have been some reported cases where insurance companies have pressured auto body repair shops to label frame repairs anything other than actual “frame repair.” The logic behind this, however sinister it may be, is to avoid paying a significantly higher Diminished Value claim (if they pay it at all, with unreported frame damage).

When a vehicle's frame has been damaged, it may be fixable, but the financial damage is permanent. Assuming it is accurately documented, a vehicle is valued significantly less due to the stigma to consumers who are in the market for a vehicle.

Another setback related to a frame-damaged vehicle is the likelihood that a car dealership will reject it altogether. We know from firsthand accounts that certified used vehicle programs have strict standards when it comes to a vehicle'works repair history. For instance, Toyota’s program instructs its used vehicle inspectors to “Check frame to be sure no damage has been done to frame; no non-factory welds; no cracks; not bent; no evidence of flood damage."

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car insurance claim

Are you in the market for car insurance? Besides considering the best options for you from a premium perspective, it’s a really good idea to know which insurance companies are known for the best claim service as well.

If and when the time comes that you are in an accident, will the insurance company pay your claim in full and in a timely manner? If the accident is bad enough for a Diminished Value claim, will your insurance company comply and fulfill their obligations or will they make things difficult? In our experience, we have found that Allstate, Farmers and Progressive have been the best companies to with.

A Diminished Value claim will most often be paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, what if the other driver is uninsured? A few states -- Washington, Kansas and Georgia -- allow for collecting a diminished value claim under your collision policy. However,  a diminished value claim can be collected in any state under a policy's uninsured (or underinsured) motorist coverage.

So whether you are currently in the market or will be shopping around for the best rates in the near future, don’t forget to go the extra mile to see which insurance companies are known for their quality claims service. It could mean the difference between headaches and lost car value and a smooth claim process, paid in full.

vehicle supply and demandOne of the basic reasons for the diminishing value of a vehicle after an accident is simple supply and demand. Results from a survey we conducted in 2009 of more than 4,700 respondents found that 60 percent of them would not even buy a vehicle that had frame damage. Even with a vehicle that did not sustain frame damage and had been correctly repaired, about 20 percent of respondents would expect a 40 percent reduction in the price.

When you have such a significant number of consumers completely out of the buying mix, demand is so low that you can’t help but see a major drop in value. In the auto buying world, perception is as good as reality. If people think your vehicle is worth 40 to 60 percent less than you are asking, it’s nearly impossible to fight that battle.

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by Jason Knapfel

Father's Day is supposed to be a time to reflect on your family and how much you appreciate your children, just as much as they are supposed to return the favor during the holiday. However, that ideal scenario was abruptly put on hold on June 17, 2012.

In most ways, it was a pretty uneventful day like any other. At around dinner time, I set off to pick up my vehicle that I had just left at my brother-in-law’s house earlier that day. The plan couldn't have been simpler: my wife and kids would take me to get my car and they’d follow me back home for a relaxing evening together.

That ended in a split second.

I drove back towards the main road only a few hundred yards from my brother-in-law's residence with my family following behind me in our Honda Odyssey. The intersection is not typical in regards to how traffic signs and signals are laid out. And I didn't find out until after the fact that this intersection had been deadly only a few short months before, with a pedestrian being fatally struck.

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Don’t be fooled by the imitators. It could cost you thousands.

Have you been searching for a Diminished Value calculator, a website that will give you at least a remotely accurate estimate of what you might be able to expect if you won a settlement? The question you need to ask yourself is whose interests do they have in mind? Are they going to spit out an estimate that represents the maximum you deserve or will it be much lower and more palatable for your insurance company?

Even if the site that is giving you a Diminished Value estimate isn’t controlled by the insurance industry, it’s still likely you are getting an inaccurate figure derived from a simple formula based on Kelley Blue Book adjusted for rough damage estimates. Good for the insurance company, but not so much for you.

The trick is to have a diminished value expert who finds that “sweet spot” that doesn’t creep into the realm of unrealistic expectations. If you’re gunning for too much, you will either delay your settlement or not get one at all.

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In order to claim Diminished Value, we consider a set of prerequisites. While we will do our best to get you the compensation you deserve, your claim depends on the type of damage incurred on your vehicle and the circumstances surrounding the accident. Questions to ask yourself before seeking a Diminished Value appraiser include:

1. Who is at fault? Diminished value claims in Oregon cannot be processed for drivers who are at fault in an accident. If you were hit, at no fault of your own, then you are eligible for a diminished value appraisal. If, however, the circumstances surrounding your car accident put you at fault for your own damages and those to other vehicles, a diminished value claim will not be possible.

2. What sort of damage are we dealing with? Frame damage requires a deep assessment due to the manufacturer practice of using lighter materials, which are more complex and require deeper analysis to determine diminished value. A few things we look for when assessing frame damage include:

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Because insurance agents and companies are required to abide by certain laws and guidelines, and consumers and policyholders are also held by rules and contractual obligations, it is rare that you will reach the point at which you must file an insurance complaint with a government agency. Rather, the best line of defense is to discuss the matter first with your adjuster, agent, or customer service representative if you feel you have been wronged in the handling of a claim.

Part of obtaining the qualified attention that you may require when sorting out your issue is in contacting the correct person. If in doubt, consult your agent first. He or she can refer you to the right department or person. If your issue cannot be resolved through discussion with the person responsible for handling your claim or policy, speak with a manager or supervisor. It is in the best interest of the insurance office to process within its own walls. In this instance, a manager should be more than willing to assist you, as the reputation of the company or agency branch is now at stake.

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Terry M. Fisher, Owner, Autoloss.com
Terry M. Fisher
Autoloss.com Founder

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