Property Damage – Diminished Value

Cogburn Law
Madeleine Jones
September 17, 2013

In an earlier blog we discussed what happens when your vehicle is considered a total loss, i.e., the costs of repairs is greater than the value of the vehicle.  This blog discusses what your rights are if your vehicle is not totaled, but is still damaged.

First, you are entitled to have your car repaired and the insurance company for the at-fault driver will pay the cost of the repairs.  Everyone knows that once a vehicle is damaged, the value of that vehicle is affected.  In other words, the fair market value of a vehicle that has never been damaged is far different from the value of the same vehicle that has been damaged.  We call this “diminished value.”  The term “diminished value” means the reduction of a vehicle’s fair market value after the vehicle has been damaged.

Under Nevada law, you are entitled to recover diminished value, but it is rare. Be warned, most insurance companies will tell you that you cannot recover diminished value, but this is not true.  While rare, you are entitled to recover diminished value; it will just involve more of a fight on your part.

The first step is to obtain a diminished value report.  Carmax provides these reports regularly. They will tell you what they would have paid for the car had it not been in an accident and what they would paid for it based on its accident history.  The difference between the two figures is your diminished value.

This report will not guarantee the insurance company will pay, but if you are persistent and can back up your claim with supporting documentation, you may just win the battle.