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Old 11-03-2015, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Weddington, NC
84 posts, read 99,085 times
Reputation: 61

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Background: A high school student turned left into my car at an intersection a few weeks ago, and my 2011 Honda CRV became undriveable. The sheriff's deputy didn't charge the student (whose car also was undriveable), but told her she was at fault. Our cars were towed, and her insurance (USAA) provided me with a rental.

The insurance company, at first, advised me my CRV was likely totalled. But after sitting for a while at a scrapped car lot, their adjuster decided it wasn't totalled, and they towed it to a body shop for repairs.

The primary damage is to the car's suspension. Impact was at the driver's side front wheel. I don't really know much more than that about the damage, parts required, etc.

I wonder if anyone has any advice on the following:
  • Should I have a third-party mechanic/body shop evaluate it after repairs are made to ensure they have done a good job? If so, who pays for that evaluation?
  • No doubt the accident will appear on carfax reports and the value of the car will be less when I sell it or trade it in. So, how do I go about making a diminished value claim?
  • Any other advice to share? I'd prefer not going to a lawyer, if I can avoid it.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/insights you all have to share!
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Herndon, VA
2,049 posts, read 2,057,624 times
Reputation: 7201
It is possible that you can get money from USAA for diminished value. It might be a fight though, but I have heard of it happening. You may have to lawyer up or get your insurance company to do battle for you. The keys is you don't accept any settlement before you are satisfied. That is easier said than done though, and USAA knows that.
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Old 11-03-2015, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Weddington, NC
84 posts, read 99,085 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert20170 View Post
It is possible that you can get money from USAA for diminished value. It might be a fight though, but I have heard of it happening. You may have to lawyer up or get your insurance company to do battle for you. The keys is you don't accept any settlement before you are satisfied. That is easier said than done though, and USAA knows that.
Thanks, Robert20170. What I worry about is that when I go to pick up my (repaired) car I'll be asked to sign something that indemnifies USAA of future claims or some such legal BS. I see diminished claim specialists advertised when I do a search on Google, and wonder if these are scams or actually could help.

I probably should have sought out an independent body shop instead of the one recommended by USAA. The body shop that is working on it (selected by USAA) said if I received a check for damages from the insurance company I should not cash it (and then pay with my own check or credit card). I needed to bring it there and use it to pay for the repairs.

Last edited by newfie56; 11-03-2015 at 01:16 PM.. Reason: added graph about check/body shop
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:34 PM
 
1,640 posts, read 3,277,869 times
Reputation: 3468
You don't have to sign anything. You need to sign off on what the insurance company is giving you. You can say NO and try to negotiate with them. Threaten to call a lawyer. That might get their attention.

That being said, car accidents just suck. I was rear ended in 2009 on a car that was paid off and only had 15,000 miles on it. I ended up having to buy another car and got stuck with car payments for 4 more years. Unfortunately often there is no way to really make someone "whole" again after a car accident. People will suffer losses, and it's infuriating.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:50 AM
 
1,585 posts, read 1,404,987 times
Reputation: 4933
How insurance companies calculate diminished value claims | The Kielich Law Firm – Bedford Attorney in Bedford, Texas

Take a look at this article, it shows how insurance calculates diminished value. Might give you a good idea if this is an avenue you want to pursue.

You also might want to review any paperwork you already signed. For them to have towed and began repairs on the vehicle they must have had your permission which means you must have signed something.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:05 AM
 
4,539 posts, read 4,779,003 times
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It does not diminish value much at all. Carfax just records and accident.

For instance someone in Kohls parking lot you back up while other car backing up and tail light gets cracked, no other damage. Dealer pops in a new tailight. Guess what that is marked as a full blow accident.

Meanwhile I bought a Caddie parked it in front of house two weeks after buying it, a drunk rear ended it at 60 mph threw it on my front lawn while he did a rollover and ended up 20 feet from my car.

Cops took him away and his insurance paid. Turns out car had $14,000 in damage. And they repaired it. They did not total as they felt car was worth $29,000 so if less than 50% they fix it.

And state farm his agent repair shop who did work who I checked out and was good tells me at end when I asked for receipts and details of work performed told me I give that to the person who paid not you, he just gave me a receipt saying all work done one year warranty.

That was December 2012 and car runs fine still. Honestly, I have zero receipts from this. I only know amount as State farm told me on phone and body shop verbally told me.

Nearly every car has a car fax report.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:19 AM
 
1,886 posts, read 4,220,748 times
Reputation: 2874
Quote:
Originally Posted by SandyJet View Post
It does not diminish value much at all. Carfax just records and accident.

For instance someone in Kohls parking lot you back up while other car backing up and tail light gets cracked, no other damage. Dealer pops in a new tailight. Guess what that is marked as a full blow accident.

Meanwhile I bought a Caddie parked it in front of house two weeks after buying it, a drunk rear ended it at 60 mph threw it on my front lawn while he did a rollover and ended up 20 feet from my car.

Cops took him away and his insurance paid. Turns out car had $14,000 in damage. And they repaired it. They did not total as they felt car was worth $29,000 so if less than 50% they fix it.

And state farm his agent repair shop who did work who I checked out and was good tells me at end when I asked for receipts and details of work performed told me I give that to the person who paid not you, he just gave me a receipt saying all work done one year warranty.

That was December 2012 and car runs fine still. Honestly, I have zero receipts from this. I only know amount as State farm told me on phone and body shop verbally told me.

Nearly every car has a car fax report.
Untrue.

Bring me a car to appraise that has a blemish on the carfax report for a $14,000 accident and I will
A) Be able to see the repairs even if you can't
B) Offer you no more than 90 cents on the dollar for it, more likely 80 cents on the dollar.

If I have two similar cars on my lot with one having a clean Carfax and the other having an accident report of the type that a $14,000 repair job will create, a prospective buyer will simply pass on the car with prior damage. I can't make it cheap enough to offset it at the retail level. This leaves me needing to take that car to auction, where the prior damage will devalue it by 10-20%.


None of this matters if you are satisfied with the repairs and content to continue driving the car, but it is absolutely worth less to any buyer, wholesale or retail, who knows what to look for.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Weddington
333 posts, read 679,534 times
Reputation: 210
Hate to say it but you will need to lawyer up if the damage was over $2500

Here's the NC law on Diminished value.

North Carolina Diminished Value Law | Diminished Value Carolina

After repairs are done you may have to pay to have the car appraised(PM for the name of a good one, they will also give you some advise on what you need to do.)
Also wait till after you have the car back and then call USSA to make your Diminished value claim, does not matter what paper work they give you.

They more than likely have another local rep contact you.

And it will definitely effect you when you try to sell or trade the car in.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Weddington, NC
84 posts, read 99,085 times
Reputation: 61
Thanks, chb110. Those calculations show -- in a best-case scenario -- diminished value of $825.

I did sign papers allowing them to begin repairs. I didn't read all the fine print, so I hope I didn't miss anything!
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Weddington, NC
84 posts, read 99,085 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funky Chicken View Post
Untrue.

Bring me a car to appraise that has a blemish on the carfax report for a $14,000 accident and I will
A) Be able to see the repairs even if you can't
B) Offer you no more than 90 cents on the dollar for it, more likely 80 cents on the dollar.

If I have two similar cars on my lot with one having a clean Carfax and the other having an accident report of the type that a $14,000 repair job will create, a prospective buyer will simply pass on the car with prior damage. I can't make it cheap enough to offset it at the retail level. This leaves me needing to take that car to auction, where the prior damage will devalue it by 10-20%.

None of this matters if you are satisfied with the repairs and content to continue driving the car, but it is absolutely worth less to any buyer, wholesale or retail, who knows what to look for.
Thanks, Funky Chicken. I agree totally! Added to my situation is that eight days earlier another USAA driver changed lanes improperly and dinged my car on the other side. I had an appointment set up to get that (relatively minor) damage evaluated at the time the second USAA driver nearly totalled it! So, my car has two accidents on its record -- neither my fault and both by USAA drivers. Unless I want to keep driving it until it's 10 years old and has hundreds of thousands of miles on it, its value has dropped at least a couple thousand, in my opinion. When I have purchased used cars, I always look at the carfax record and I agree with you: if one has an accident listed, I steer clear of it.

One reason the assessments and repairs have taken so long is that USAA assessors have been slammed with evaluating cars in SC impacted by the flooding there. I understand, and am appreciative of the rental I have been provided. But compensate me for my car's lost value and the hassles involved. (I'm preaching to the choir, I realize.)

Ivster, the damage has already topped $10,000, according to an update from the body shop. Retail value (based on NADA) is between $17,000 and $18,000. Maybe a lawyer is in my future. Sigh.
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