Diminished Value Claims: D.C.

If your vehicle was damaged in an accident in the District of Columbia and underwent repairs, its resale value is likely to be less than what it was before the crash.    This loss in market value is known as diminished value, and it is recoverable in D.C. through a diminished value claim filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company.   If the other driver was uninsured, you can also file a diminished value claim with your own insurance company.

Summary – District of Columbia Diminished Value Claims

Statute of Limitations: 3 years

Third Party Diminished Value Claim: Yes

First Party Diminished Value Claim: No, most insurance policies will exclude diminished value

District of Columbia Property Damage Minimum Limits: $10,000 in coverage

Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: Yes, a minimum of $5,000 in coverage is required. It includes coverage for hit and run drivers.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: Yes, a minimum of $5,000 in coverage

District of Columbia Small Claims Court Limit: $10,000, attorney representation and appeals are permitted

District of Columbia Diminished Value Law

No reported case law concerning diminished value, however, if the accident wasn’t your fault, you should be able to recover automobile diminished value as it is an element of damages in Restatement of Torts.

The Restatement of Torts, Second § 928 Harm to Chattels provides:

When one is entitled to a judgment for harm to chattels not

amounting to a total destruction in value, the damages include compensation for

(a) the difference between the value of the chattel before the harm and the value after the harm or, at his election in an appropriate case, the reasonable cost of repair or restoration, with due allowance for any difference between the original value and the value after repairs, and

(b) the loss of use.

How to File a Diminished Value Claim in D.C.

Step 1. Prove your loss. You must supply evidence that you have lost value. An independent, unbiased appraisal will provide the documentation necessary to determine the diminished value of a vehicle.

Step 2. Submit your proof to the insurance company. You’ll need to submit a diminished value appraisal and demand letter to the at-fault insurance company for review.

Step 3. Claim settlement. Once you submit a diminished value appraisal report from a competent appraiser, most insurance companies will make a settlement offer. The insurance company may pay the claim in full, make a lower offer, or deny the claim.

Haggle and negotiate until they get firm with their offer. If you’re having trouble with the insurance company, you may need to consider legal action against the responsible party.

If you have any questions about your diminished value claim in D.C., please call us at (850) 201-1950 or submit a request for a free estimate.