HELP, how to claim vehicle diminishing value after the an accident in CA.

HELP, how to claim vehicle diminishing value after the an accident in CA.

We were involved in an accident a few month back, thanks to the wonderful MS I walked out uninjured. The other party was at fault and their insurance company took full responsibility, repair to MS was $17.5k (Avio Coachcraft did a GREAT job bring MS back to live), now I'm trying to claim diminishing value. Contacted other's party's insurance AAA, and was given the advise I can't just ask for it, I have to prove my case. Originally I had 10% of the vehicle's purchase value in mind and that's what I was asking AAA adjuster to pay, but how do you prove diminishing value in Cali? Obviously the AAA claim adjust isn't going to be on my side on this one, so I'm asking people who have knowledge in this for help. Thanks in advance.

Mathew98 | April 6, 2014

Volkerize the topic and email or .org

He will charge $300 for the DV report and you take it to the other party's insurance. Negotiate and take them to court if necessary.

lolachampcar | April 6, 2014

It CA is like Florida, you get to pay for an "expert" to testify and $6K-$8K in attorney's fees to give it a go. If there is any "reasonable defense" to your claim, you can not retrieve fees in Florida. That $6K-$8K barrier to entry for filing an action makes people think twice. In my case, the other side is not taking responsibility so my problem is north of $30K making litigation a must. It sucks.

aashishdesai | April 6, 2014

There are third party agents who specialize in this. They need the complete damage report filed by the insurance company, the complete report from the body repair shop of all details of work done, labor and material cost, and then they come inspect your car to see how well it was fixed. Based on that, they will write a letter on your behalf that you sign (and you email) to the insurance company with an amount they feel is justified for diminished value. They do not argue/talk on your behalf, but give you advice in talking with the insurance company.
I just went through this and almost am done. My car was 2 weeks old when I was rear-ended by someone else who was at fault. It did about $16,000 in damages. The third party inspector felt I should get about $9,500 from the insurance. We are close to getting that amount, just doing some more negotiating.
Good luck.

aashishdesai | April 6, 2014

Oh, I paid the third party inspector $250 to do all of this. | April 6, 2014

Another possible option in CA is small claims court. For individuals, the maximum limit is $10K. You're not allowed to use a lawyer which can be good (less cost) or bad (perhaps less ability to state your case well). If you go this route, I'd check if others have tried this and if they were successful or not.

Pungoteague_Dave | April 6, 2014

Remember that the rule of thumb for current value on our cars is original purchase price, less $1,000 per month, less $1.00 per mile. So generically speaking, a $92,000 car that is 12 months old with 18,000 miles is "worth" $62,000 on trade-in at Tesla. That's the number to compare with the appraisal, because pretty much any Model S can be traded in on those terms.

vz0929 | April 6, 2014

Thanks for all the inputs guys, looks like having a third party agent writing a report is the way to go. Any recommendation on individual/company who does this in the greater Los Angeles area?

judimasters | April 6, 2014

Try I am in the middle of this as well. Good Luck.

SCCRENDO | August 10, 2014

Anyone have any further luck with diminished value claims. Anyone know an attorney in Southern Cal that deals with these cases

Mathew98 | August 10, 2014

Contact Frank at St. Lucie Appraisal. Most of the time the insurance company will deal with your request with a reputable DV report and counter with their numbers. You'll settle with some number in between the two figures. Insurance companies will generally not want to go in front of a judge/jury regarding DV cases.

Frank has dealt with about half a dozen Tesla DV claims so he has more experience with the MS than other DV appraisers.

aljjr2 | August 10, 2014

Diminished Depreciation, In my experience was always provided by the Insurance Company who is responsible for the claim.

I am in Georgia currently, but have lived in several different states. In all cases, the "at fault" insurer paid the Diminished Depreciation.

Since Car-Facts and others track by Vin the repair, then you will suffer the Depreciation when selling (or trying to) the Model S.

In no case, have I seen where the responsible insurance company refuse to pay as part of the lost.

I assume you have already contacted them. I would suggest you not sign the release until that part of the claim is also paid.

aljjr2 | August 10, 2014

This site may help in California.

Jamon | August 10, 2014

Is it worth trying to file a diminished value claim for minor body damage that isn't structural? I had my frunk hood replaced after someone backed into me in the parking lot. Their insurance paid the $4,500 cost. Any guess on what ballpark value I could expect to receive for diminished value?

Brian H | August 11, 2014

Why does the depreciation diminish? Hard to fathom.

SCCRENDO | August 11, 2014

@aashisdesai. Which appraiser did you use. Who are the insurance companies involved?

Mathew98 | August 13, 2014


contact | August 15, 2014

A physical inspection of a car for inherent diminished value is unnecessary and just pads the appraiser's bill. One appraisal company named in this thread actually charges $800 for a DV appraisal (not SLA) which is about the highest I have heard of by far. If the repairs were poorly done, your claim would be for repair-related diminished value which WOULD require a physical inspection of the vehicle.

radsvision | May 19, 2015

Our Model S was recently rear-ended. We are in the process of getting the repairs done at Avio Coachcraft. I contacted the at-fault party's insurance to request a diminished value claim but their adjuster said no diminished value claims are allowed in CA. I told her I was told you can file a DV claim in CA. She responded by saying that I can go ahead and request it but will only get denied.

Is there anyone who have gone through the DV claim process in CA who can give me some advice or direction to start the process. I read all of the above posts and have contacted several people at frontier adjusters but still no luck or helpful information. Thanks

Mathew98 | May 19, 2015

Email Frank at this email:

radsvision | May 19, 2015

Thanks. I just sent Frank an email. Anyone in CA successful in filing a DV claim who can offer some advice?

Eric.meyer.wrec... | August 6, 2015

If your looking for local connection in bay area-

Sharkfin | August 6, 2015

We filed a diminished value claim in CA small claims court and won despite huge resistance from insurance company. Ironically we had the car (not a Tesla) appraised for a trade just prior to the accident. The compelling evidence was the difference in trade in appraisals before the accident and after repairs. This was the amount awarded. We didn't use a third party and did some internet searches for prior cases to "help" the judge come to the right decision. Good luck with yours!

SCCRENDO | August 6, 2015

Got diminished values and loss of use reports. Worked on my own and got lowballed. Used an attorney who got we 250% of the initial offer to me. Now just waiting for signoff from my insurance company who paid my repairs and still need to be reimbursed. Accident happened August 9 last year. Will never get as much as you ask but I am overall satisfied with the offer.

ran349 | August 6, 2015

My advice is if you are in California, don't even bother trying to get diminished value. It was a total nightmare for me and I got repeated rejections from the at fault insurance company. I would have had to take the at fault party to court, not the insurance company, if I remember correctly. That's where I drew the line. I wish I had never even tried. I paid a company an up front fee and they wrote up a report and submitted it to the insurance company, asking for some very high value. The insurance company completely dismissed it, offering nothing, even though I made several appeals to get something out of it, at least to cover the fee I had already paid. Nothing worked.

Haggy | August 6, 2015

What you can do in California is challenge them to sell the car and show that it's worth that amount of money. You might need a lawyer though. I agree it's not worth it, and much of what people consider diminished value is psychological rather than an inherent difference between the car and one that hadn't been in an accident. The one possible difference might be the paint, in which case I'd say the cost of a full repaint at a very high quality body shop would be the most it could be diminished, assuming all damaged body parts were replaced with new ones. It's the small fender bender that won't show up in any reports, and is just as likely to have problems in the future because of repairs. With a small accident with $1500 worth of damage and a $1000 deductible, many people won't bother filing a claim, and a person buying it used would have no way of finding out short of asking if the car had been in an accident.

If I were buying a used car and knew that it had been in an accident, I'd like to be very much assured that everything had been repaired perfectly. I'd want to know who did the repair and whether they guarantee the repair for life. I don't think it's realistic to say that buying another identical car would even be an option. The likelihood of getting one of similar age with similar mileage with the same color and same features in the same condition is fairly slim. Knowing about Tesla approved body shops would be reassuring.

SCCRENDO | August 6, 2015

@ran349. I am in California.

ran349 | August 7, 2015

@SCCRENDO. I know some people have received DV in CA. The details are different for every case. But after talking to my own insurance co (AAA) and even the state insurance board during the process, I wouldn't have bothered trying if I had it to do over.

Yes, you got 250% of your initial offer. 250% more would have still amounted to zero for my claim.

Dale9271 | August 7, 2015

I used third party to prep report .. They provided templates of letters to send ...after four letters to AAA I received 80% of what my report asked for ... For me claiming against AAA was straightforward

Eric.meyer.wrec... | September 8, 2015

Dear- ran349

I would be happy to review your issue with Diminished value deny back in August 2015 at no fee. It is NOT an easy process because insurance process if full of pot holes and traps.

If you never received a "limits of policy" have been reached you should have a clear claim of liability.

You can reach me thru-


sp | February 7, 2020

For CA claims and claims around the US a competent and experienced appraiser should be able to access and provide you with a proper report. There are real appraiser's out there especially mediator's that specialize in this field. Have you tried looking up Mediator's?

iibernardii | March 25, 2020

AAA will negotiate on the original value that you were asking. They will not pay you with the amount that Mediator presented. In my case, the Appraisal Value Loss was $ 12, 879. AAA initially granted $ 3000 which is really low. Well, I think all insurance will lowball you in every aspect. So I said NO and I tried to defend myself. The second call from AAA after 3 hrs, they offered me $ 7,100. So I said NO still and asked them where do they get these number from. They mentioned 15% of the Pre Accident Value less Current trade-in value something like that. Third call form AAA goes up to $ 7,7xxx. This is somewhat ridiculous in part of the insurance company. Giving the "not at fault party" hard time getting the demands.

I still want to call a Lawyer for this. I am not sure if it would be necessary or worth trying.