Typical Insurance Adjuster Excuses Against Diminished Value Claims

Typical Insurance Adjuster Excuses Against Diminished Value Claims

There are a lot of adjusters without much experience and all they know to do is what their insurance company has trained or told them to do. Most have been taught to deny diminished value claims no matter how convincing the evidence. Here are the most common arguments insurance companies use in an attempt to refute diminished value and the reasons why they aren’t valid:

We aren’t responsible for that.

This response is becoming less frequent as diminished value becomes more popular, but some inexperienced adjusters still try to use it. Ask them to put it in writing and send or email to you promptly. Insurance adjusters are notorious for saying and denying things, but when you ask them to put it in writing or for legal justification, they refuse to respond. The fact is there is a Louisiana statute specifically addressing diminished value and here it is Louisiana Revised Statute §9:2800.17 .

The vehicle was repaired properly, so no diminished value is owed.

Regardless of how well a vehicle is repaired, the accident was probably recorded on the Autocheck or Carfax vehicle history. Whenever there is a history mentioning more than slight damage, the local used car managers we meet with depreciate the vehicle. Different dealers and different models depreciate differently which is why an appraisal is so important. For instance, most used car managers do not depreciate trucks as much as cars because many truck buyers are not as particular about minor accidents. Every vehicle has a different supply and demand situation in the local market, but only under rare circumstances does a dealership not depreciate when there is knowledge of an accident.

The vehicle has a prior accident on its history.

This may or may not be an issue depending on the vehicle history.  The prior accident may have been less severe. Even if it is more severe, most used car managers will still deduct for both accidents. In Louisiana we have what is called comparative negligence and it is often necessary to proceed with an appraisal to determine how much each accident might contribute to the total depreciation.

We don’t recognize your methodology. That’s not how it’s done.

We hear this one a lot because most insurance adjusters are only aware of the 17C formula and only a few local appraisers actually take the time to meet with local used car managers like we do. The fact is that formulas cannot account for each individual vehicle’s supply and demand situation. The most accurate way to assess diminished value is to find out what’s going on in the local market. The Bureau of Certified Auto Appraisers indicates, “Using a formula only to determine the post repair value of a vehicle is not acceptable under any USPAP or BOCAA guidelines. To determine a post repair value, BOCAA guidelines require market quotes from dealers in the local market.” The bottom line is that many of the large insurance company defense attorneys agree with our appraisal methodology, and occasionally hire us on their litigated cases.

Diminished value cannot be determined until the vehicle is sold.

It is not necessary to sell a vehicle to pursue a diminished value claim. In Louisiana you only have one year to pursue a claim. It would be unfair to make the owner trade-in or sell the vehicle within one year from the accident. If you can provide sufficient documentation to prove that the vehicle has depreciated in value as a result of the accident, then you are entitled to diminished value effective the date of accident.

We’ve heard other excuses over the years, however these are the most popular. If an adjuster gives you a hard time or excuse, then feel free to give us a call and we’ll see what we can do to help.

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