The second mistake of diminished value claimants
The second mistake most do-it-yourself claimants make is to give the diminished value report to the insurance company that they want to pay the claim. Obviously, the claimant has to back up his claim with something, but once the report is submitted to the insurance company, it sets the ceiling for the negotiations that will occur. If the do-it-yourselfer takes the first diminished value report he gets and gives it to the insurance company there’s no chance of demanding more than that.
Once the insurance company gets it they will do one of three things. They will reject the claim entirely, make a low ball nuisance value offer or they will ask to inspect the vehicle to get an opinion of their own. In the first two instances, giving the diminished value report to the insurance company hasn’t hurt you, because they are ignoring it. So, giving it to them didn’t really create a ceiling for the negotiations, because they aren’t negotiating based on the report. However, in the third situation, they will have their own expert look at it, and invariably come up with a value that is a fraction of yours. If any compromise is to be reached it will be somewhere in the middle and by providing them with an “opening bid” that’s not the most favorable for you, you just lost some negotiation leverage. In my next post, I’ll address the questions of who to make the claim against and which court to go to if you must go to court.