Auto Accident Insurance Payout Could be Highway Robbery.

Your car is hit by an at-fault driver. His insurance company reimburses you for the loss in value (the diminished value) of your car. And, after the initial trauma, all is once again right with world. Right? Maybe not.

According to the Insurance Consumer Advocate Network (ICAN), if you don’t watch out, you could get run over by some sleight-of-hand tricks commonly employed by insurance companies. Sometimes insurers deny that diminished value is covered. According to J.D. Howard of ICAN, never assume that an insurer’s initial diminished value offer is fair. He says that even a fender bender will reduce a car’s resale value by at least 10 percent even if the vehicle is perfectly repaired, because a subsequent buyer will be afraid of hidden damage due to the accident. In case of a serious accident, the loss can be much greater, even with complete repair.

Fender bender

Auto Accident. Photo-Ryanand lenny

What to do if the at-fault driver’s insurance company balks at paying for diminished value? Well don’t tread lightly. Hire an appraiser to establish diminished value. The ICAN website has a list of DV appraisers ( If the DV appraiser substantiates your vehicle’s diminished value, you can “grille” the insurer and demand compensation. And don’t forget to include the cost of the appraiser’s services in your claim.  

Sources of the above: The Auto Insurance Rip-off,” Bottom Line Personal, November 15, 2013; and Consumer Advocate Network,

But be aware, if you carry collision insurance and your vehicle suffers major damage, your own insurer should cover your loss and seek compensation for your deductible from the at-fault driver’s insurer. Just make sure that you are reimbursed for the diminished value as well.