Diminished Value Claim: Washington

Auto accidents happen daily. If we are lucky, we have the chance to walk away from an accident unhurt, with the only damage being to the vehicles involved. But even when no one is hurt, we are still left with a major financial burden. If you are in an accident, your vehicle likely lost significant value. Even with the best repair work, it’s simply not worth the same amount that it was before. Fortunately, you can recover this lost value through a diminished value claim in Washington if you weren’t at-fault.

Summary – Washington 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


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


Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: Yes, it’s an optional coverage. It includes coverage for hit and run drivers that flee the scene without being identified, uninsured motorists, and underinsured motorists.


Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: Yes, this coverage comes in handy when the at-fault insurance company didn’t have enough coverage.


Washington Small Claims Court Limit: $10,000, attorneys are excluded from participating. Appeals are permitted.

Washington Diminished Value Law


Washington Pattern Jury Instructions—Civil 6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 30.10 (7th ed.)


WPI 30.10 Measure of Damages—Damage to Personal Property—Repairs and Depreciation or Difference in Value Before and After Damage


The lesser of the following:

1. The reasonable value of necessary repairs to any property that was damaged plus the difference between the fair cash market value of the property immediately before the occurrence and its fair cash market value after it is repaired; or

2. The difference between the fair cash market value of the property immediately before the occurrence and the fair cash market value of the unrepaired property immediately after the occurrence.


How to File a Diminished Value Claim in Washington


To file a diminished value claim in the state of Washington, you first need to determine how much your vehicle has declined in value.


There are online resources and calculators, but claims using these tools are generally disregarded by insurance companies. It’s far better to use an independent insurance appraiser who can provide a comprehensive appraisal that will be respected by insurance companies.


Next, you will need to contact the insurance company of the at-fault party. You may have to cooperate and provide additional information as well. Then you will wait for the insurance company to complete their review process. Once complete, you should receive a check for the diminished value of your vehicle.


If the at-fault driver did not have insurance, you’ll have to work through the uninsured-motorist section of your own insurance policy. In this situation a professional appraisal is still needed.



Getting a Fair Payment for Washington Diminished Value Claims


You have a legal right to the diminished value of your vehicle in Washington. But insurance companies often try to negotiate the settlement down to a much lower number, especially if you use unreliable online resources for your value claim.