Diminished Value Claims: Hawaii

If you were in an accident caused by another person in the state of Hawaii, you have a right to file a diminished value claim. After a vehicle has been damaged, it immediately loses value. Repairs can restore a portion of the lost value, but even the best repairs won’t bring it back to full value. The remaining loss in value, however, is not totally lost. Known as diminished value, it is recoverable when you take the right steps.

Summary – Hawaii Diminished Value Claims

Statute of Limitations: 2 years

Third Party Diminished Value Claim: Yes

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

Hawaii Property Damage Minimum Limits: $10,000 in coverage

Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: No coverage

Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: No coverage

Hawaii Small Claims Court Limit: $5,000, attorney representation is allowed. There is no right to appeal a small claims court decision.

Hawaii Diminished Value Law

Richards v. Kailua Auto Machine Service, 10 Haw. App. 613, 622 (Haw. Ct. App. 1994)  

The general rule in measuring damages is `to give a sum of money to the person wronged which as nearly as possible, will restore him [or her] to the position he [or she] would be in if the wrong had not been committed.

Courts have applied various measures of damages to personal property. D. DOBBS, supra, § 5.10 at 379; C. McCORMICK, supra, § 124 at 471-72; Measure and Elements of Damage, supra, § 2. But "[a]ll [of] the [different] measures [for damages to personal property] are merely `guides to common sense,' and the question in each case is ultimately a question of fully compensating the [injured party]. Thus, the various measures should be adjusted as required to meet the goal of compensation." D. DOBBS, supra, § 5.10 at 379 (footnote omitted).

Some courts have found that damages for tortious property damage to an automobile include costs of [corrective] repair and the difference in value of the automobile before the accident and after the repairs are completed, so long as the sum does not exceed the decline in market value [immediately after injury], and does not exceed the pre-accident [or pre-injury] market value of the vehicle.

How to File a Diminished Value Claim in Hawaii

Step 1. Gather proof of your car’s diminished value.

Crucial in filing any insurance claim is having the correct paperwork and supporting documentation prepared professionally.

Insurance companies are looking for a high-quality, independent diminished value appraisal performed by an industry expert with the highest qualifications and experience.

Step 2. Submit a diminished value appraisal and demand letter for review.

Typically, diminished value claims are brought against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Step 3. Settle your claim.

Insurance companies will often want to negotiate so it is in your best interest to enlist the services of a professional diminished value appraiser for help with your claim.

The more documentation you have, the more you might experience success when making a claim. 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 Hawaii, please call us at (850) 201-1950 or submit a request for a free estimate.