They fixed my car, but now it’s worth less than before the wreck!
Let’s say you’re driving your 2014 Ford Mustang. It’s only got about 10,000 miles on it, and it’s clean as a whistle. Kelly Blue Book says it’s still worth about $25,000 on the used car market. “Wham!” Some negligent guy runs a red light and hits you hard. Fortunately, you’re not injured, but your car is a mess!
The negligent driver’s insurance company agrees to pay for the repairs, and the shop does a decent job. But since your vehicle has now been “wrecked and repaired,” it’s no longer worth $25,000. Why? Because when compared to a similar 2014 Ford Mustang with no “damage history,” your car is less desirable, and therefore less valuable. It has a “diminished market value” despite having been properly repaired. This additional financial loss might be several thousand dollars.
Ohio courts have held that you should be compensated for diminished market value. In other words, the bad guy’s insurance company should be fixing your vehicle AND writing you a check for the lost value of your car or truck. But some insurance companies in Ohio wrongly deny these legitimate claims. Their claims representatives (“adjusters”) falsely tell folks like you that “Ohio law does not require us to pay for that.”
If you are the unlucky victim of one of these sub-par insurance companies, do not accept their nonsense! They are trying to mislead you so they can close your claim for less than they owe. Demand to be treated fairly. If you’re not, call a trusted lawyer.
Some Ohio insurance companies will continue this deceptive practice until Ohioans make them stop. It would help if the Ohio Department of Insurance – our insurance company “watchdog” – would take action. Unfortunately, the ODI often seems more interested in protecting billion dollar corporations than Ohio citizens.
If your car gets wrecked and repaired, see if someone at your dealer, or some other knowledgeable person (for example, a used car sales manager), can give you a brief written statement confirming how much post-repair market value has been lost. With that “evidence” in hand, the other guy’s insurance company should step up and do the right thing.
Finally, keep in mind that the rules are often totally different when you are dealing with your own insurance company. They are generally only required to pay for what is spelled out in your insurance policy – which typically does not include DMV.