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Inflated appraisal of damaged car and diminished value claim

Here’s a situation involving a first party claim and a diminished value claim.

I bought a 2010 Subaru Forrester in Oct 2010. I paid $20,000.00 in cash and traded in my old car that was worth about $5,000. 10 months later, I got into a bad accident involving 6 cars under an underpass. I was at fault for the collision in front of me, but other cars hit me from behind and I am not at fault for that.

When Progress came out to assess my car they said that there was $13,192 worth of damage and valued my car for more than $27,000. It was an awful estimate because they ended up putting out $18,726.16 (they claim they would have totaled if it hit $19,196). My car is and was worth nowhere near that amount, and Kelley Blue book value put it at $20,000. The dealer was shocked with that value when I brought the car there. Third, they never checked to ensure that my car was fixed properly and it was leaking transmission fluid that has now stained my street and driveway (since then that time it has been fixed). The car was just finally deemed fixed as of mid-December.

My issue is that my car should have been totaled. I keep cars 10 years. I just got this car, and now I feel that it has been cobbled together. I brought this issue to the insurance commission, but they don’t feel that it is viable. I am just at my wits end. Would you happen to have any suggestions?

Here was my reply, in essence.

First, as you were at fault for part of the collision, you have no diminished value claim for that. You could conceivably make a claim for the diminished value from the collisions behind you, but somehow you’d have to separate out the loss of value from the front end collisions from the rear end collisions and that would be very difficult. As for suing your insurance company, that also would be hard. It’s odd that they valued a 10 month old car bought for $25,000.00 at $27,000.00. But to sue them for an appraisal that you think is wrong would be very costly. Also, many insurance policies require you to make a claim within one year of the event or you lose the right to make a claim.