Diminished Value Claims: Virginia
In Virginia, you can file a claim for diminished value as a third-party claim, meaning these claims must be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can also file a diminished value claim with your own insurance company if you were struck by an uninsured motorist. An accident/damage history can reduce the value of your vehicle because the average buyer will almost always prefer a vehicle without an accident as opposed to one with a damage history. Fortunately, you can recover diminished value in Virginia when you take the right steps.
Summary – Virginia Diminished Value Claims
Statute of Limitations: 5 years from the date of loss
Third Party Diminished Value Claim: Yes
First Party Diminished Value Claim: No, most insurance policies will exclude diminished value
Virginia Property Damage Minimum Limits: $20,000 in coverage
Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: Yes, $20,000 in required UMPD coverage with a $200 deductible. It includes coverage for hit and run drivers.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: Yes
Virginia Small Claims Court Limit: $5,000, attorney representation is not allowed. Appeals are permitted.
Virginia Diminished Value Law
Virginia code 46.2-1600 defines diminished value compensation: the amount of compensation that an insurance company pays to a third-party vehicle owner, in addition to the cost of repairs, for the reduced value of a vehicle due to damage.
Virginia also has well established case law supporting diminished value for third-party vehicle owners who were not at-fault in the accident.
Averett v. Shircliff, 218 Va. 202,206-207,237 S.E.2d 92 (1977) states the following: “Where the automobile is damaged but not completely destroyed the measure of damages is basically the difference between market value at the time of the injury and market value after the injury,
which, where the injury is susceptible of repairs, is ordinarily measured by the cost of reasonable repairs necessary to restore the automobile to its original condition together with the diminution in value of the injured property after repairs are made.”
How to File a Diminished Value Claim in Virginia
Step 1. Obtain proof of your car's diminished value.
The best way to prove your claim is to hire licensed, highly qualified, competent, and independent diminished value experts. The better the appraisal, the better the chance of the insurance company accepting the appraisal and paying the claim faster and for more money.
Step 2. Submit your documentation (diminished value appraisal) and demand letter for review.
The ideal time is right after you get your vehicle repaired. The sooner you file your diminished value claim, the better. Typically, if the accident wasn’t your fault, you would file a diminished value claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
It’s covered under their property damage liability. If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, your policy may include coverage for diminished value as well.
Step 3. Settle your claim.
The role of the claims adjuster is to negotiate the lowest possible settlement for the insurance company. They will either accept your claim, offer a lower settlement, or deny the claim.
To receive the highest settlement, submit as much supporting documentation as possible and haggle until the adjuster stops negotiating.
If you have any questions, please call us at (850) 201-1950 or complete a free estimate form to get further assistance with your Virginia diminished value claim.