Diminished Value: It Doesn’t Pay to Do It Yourself

By admin1 • August 11th, 2008

Everyone knows that it takes time to recover from a car accident. There is the nerve-jangling emotional distress, the potential physical injuries, and the sheer hassle of dealing with the insurance paperwork and vehicle repairs. “What most people don’t realize is that the value of your car never fully recovers,” says Omar Quddus, President and Co-Founder of Advocate Auto Claims, LLC (www.advocateautoclaims.com). “Moreover, if you’re not at fault, you’re entitled to compensation for this diminished value.”


The concept of diminished value is easily understood with this hypothetical scenario: You’re in the market for a used car and can choose between two identical vehicles, one that has been repaired after being in an accident and one that has never been in a crash. Would you pay as much for the repaired vehicle as you would the car that has never been in an accident? “Diminished value is the difference between the prices that the two cars can fetch in the marketplace,” says Quddus.


In the event of an accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver is usually liable for the diminished value of the vehicle not at fault. That doesn’t mean, however, that insurance companies are eager to pay out diminished value claims. Indeed, carriers place the responsibility of proving diminished value on the consumer – something that most people are ill equipped to handle. “It’s like burdening the victim of a car accident with the part-time job of substantiating their claim,” says Quddus.


As a result, consumers often turn to online companies that – for fees ranging from $29 to $500 – will generate a report stating the vehicle’s diminished value or perform a full vehicle inspection. But the onus is still on the consumer to convince the insurance company to pay the claim. The result? “People spend their time, energy, and money fighting insurance companies that are determined to refuse or deny a claim,” says Quddus. “Even if a company agrees to settle, chances are that the consumer will accept a lowball offer.”


In contrast, Advocate Auto Claims uses its industry expertise to negotiate on behalf of its diminished value claim clients – and does so on a contingency basis. “When consumers use our services, they know that we will initiate the claim, substantiate the claim, process the claim, negotiate the claim, and settle the claim – and that they won’t have to pay a dime until we achieve a settlement,” says Quddus. “That’s a far cry from paying top dollar for a report and then never seeing a dime from the insurance company.”


Quddus attributes Advocate Auto Claims’ success to the ten years of experience their affiliate company has in settling diminished value claims for fleet owners and car rental agencies. “We have licensed public adjusters who understand that every insurance company in every state handles claims differently,” says Quddus. “They know the loopholes and the need for substantiation, but more importantly, they have answers for every type of request, requirement, and denial that an insurance company can throw at them.” In addition, with access to past cases where a given insurance company has paid a claim, Advocate Auto Claim’s adjusters are well positioned to cite previous settlements in order to pave the way for successful negotiations.


The bottom line? When it comes to diminished value claims, it simply doesn’t pay to do it yourself. “There’s no sense in paying out of pocket for an online report when the insurance industry is set up to avoid paying you,” says Quddus. “Instead, you can leave it to the experts and be assured that you’ll receive the best settlement possible.”




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