Even if your car is repaired after an accident, its value diminishes. Most buyers consider a car with a history of an accident as less reliable and safe. The difference between the car's fair market value before the accident and after the repairs could cost you thousands when you try to sell it. Most states have a diminished-value law that allows you to request reimbursement for the difference in value from the at-fault party's insurance company. If the insurance company sends you a check for the diminished value, don't cash the check until you agree with the amount.
Fill out a deposit slip to deposit the diminished-value check into your own bank account. Write the check number and amount of the check on the slip. Sign your name on the back of the check or write "For Deposit Only" and your account number. Depending on bank procedure and amount of the check, it could take up to seven days for the check to clear.
If you need to cash the check at the issuing bank, identify that bank on the left-hand side of the check. Call the bank and ask if it cashes "drawn on" checks for people who don't have accounts, as banks aren't required to cash a check if you don't have an account. Take two forms of identification and the diminished-value check to the issuing bank if it will accept the check. Explain to the teller that you want to cash the check and point out that you're not an account holder. The bank might charge a fee to cash the check.
If you want to cash the check at a check-cashing store, bring two forms of identification with you. Some retailers, such as 7-Eleven and Wal-Mart, also cash checks. Tell the cashier you want to cash the check. Sign the back of the check and provide the cashier with both forms of identification. The check-cashing store will charge a fee to cash your check; it's typically based on the check's amount.
In most states, except Georgia, Kansas and Washington, you can't file a claim for diminished value if you were responsible for the accident and your insurance company paid for the repairs, as of 2013. If you're unsure whether the amount of your diminished value check is fair, hire your own appraiser and don't cash the check. Prior accidents can lower the amount you receive for your car's diminished value. If you replaced your vehicle because the insurance company deemed it totaled, the cost of your state's tax, title and licensing fees for the new car should be included in your settlement amount. Upgrades to the damaged vehicle should also be included in the diminished value settlement.
- Diminished Value Reports: What Is Diminished Value?
- Diminished Value Reports: FAQs
- Diminished Value of Georgia: Auto Insurance FAQs
- I-Can: Diminished Value Claims
- Consumers Guide to Auto Repair: Which States Have Laws That Support Diminished Value?
- Bankrate: Check-Holding Limits
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: Answers About Cashing Checks
- Banking Questions: Two Forms of ID to Cash a Check?
- Bankrate: Noncustomer Check Cashing Charges
- U.S. News: How to Cash a Check Without a Bank Account
- In most states, except Georgia, Kansas and Washington, you can't file a claim for diminished value if you were responsible for the accident and your insurance company paid for the repairs, as of 2013.
- If you're unsure whether the amount of your diminished value check is fair, hire your own appraiser and don't cash the check.
- Prior accidents can lower the amount you receive for your car's diminished value.
- Upgrades to the damaged vehicle should also be included in the diminished value settlement.
Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.