Diminished Value the Unknown $ in an Accident

When our 2008 Jeep Wrangler was wrecked last year we faced a few challenges. First, was to make sure that Deb was not injured and second was to be made whole on our Jeep.  This meant having it repaired back to pre-accident status, or having it replaced with a Jeep of equal value.

Jeep wreck

Deb suffered a bruised leg that recovered after some time off from running. Her recovery just took time and patience.  We made sure that all medical bills were covered during this recovery period including return visits and diagnostic testing.

The insurance company insisted the Jeep was repairable and not a total loss despite frame and axle damage.  The initial estimate started at $7,000 and then climbed to over $13,000 after the Jeep was torn down and all damage was now visible.  This figure did not include the rental and other misc. items which can add up and are paid out of the property damage portion of an individual’s insurance policy.

The insurance company insisted that the vehicle was worth as much as we paid for it after two years of daily use.  Talk about negotiating a deal at the time of purchase! They held the write-off percentage at over 75% of the book value.  This insanely high number meant that we would have to repair the Jeep and deal with  any issues in the future when we traded the vehicle.   After this wreck, every dealer would know the car was involved in an accident and that the frame had been bent after running a  Carfax report.  This would be a red flag for all dealers who might consider taking this car in trade as an opportunity to ding us on the value of the Jeep.

We picked the repair shop with the best reviews and a lifelong warranty on the work.  I visited the shop frequently and worked with them to ensure every damaged item was replaced with new genuine Mopar parts.  I know this was timely, but it made sure that no corners were cut in the repair process.

Our final challenge to the insurance company was to request diminished value. Diminished value is a calculated amount of money that the owner of a vehicle could lose when they go to sell the car in the future based on the damage incurred in an accident. The adjuster used the vehicle’s damage and a formula based tool from Georgia state insurance law to calculate the dollar amount.  In the end this was calculated to be over $2,000.

Insurance companies will not offer this to a claimant so you do have to request a diminished value claim.  We had to aggressively push and question this issue before they agreed to do the calculation.  Claimant’s often think that making a diminished value claim with an insurer will result in thousands of dollars in their pockets, but as a general rule of thumb these claims only amount to roughly 15 percent of the property damage claim.

In the end, we sold the Jeep a few months after all of the accident issues were resolved.  The dealer checked Carfax and it showed an accident.  The trade-in amount was about where we expected when we factored the damage and the check we received for the diminished value made sure that we ended-up being fairly compensated in the end.

If you are in an accident, do the following to protect yourself:

– Call 911–a Police officer will file a report and check all documents.
– Make sure you and/or other people are not injured.
– Get to a safe location out of the flow of traffic.
– Carry a camera–take photos of everything.
– Stay calm and write down everything to help you later on.

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Cars 2 – Pixar’s Done it Again

It is hard to believe that it has been more than five years since the first Cars movie came out. We lived in Charlotte, NC at the time and Pixar held the World Premiere at Charlotte Motor Speedway. They had all of the movie’s stars and musical acts along with three massive 90′ movie screens for the lucky 10,000 fans that came out on that raining evening.  That weekend also included the Coke 600 with a host of NASCAR activities.

The first Cars movie leapt off the screen with characters and emotion.   Little did I know we would experience the famed I-40 less that 6 months later on our cross country trek from Charlotte, NC to Phoenix, AZ. The movie tugged at the heart strings as it captured the emotions that so many small towns must have experienced during the building of the great highway.

Cars 2

The new movie is very different from the original–same characters and back story but a lot less emotion. Just action and adventure as Lightning McQueen, Mater and gang take on the world. We hit the local midnight showing to see the new movie in 3D. It was definitely worthwhile.

Take the whole family out for the fun and enjoy the movie.  I can’t wait for the DVD to be released to watch over and over again.

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Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

4th of July

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