How to Claim Automobile Depreciation After an Accident

An automobile accident can be a traumatic and ultimately costly experience. Even if the accident is not your fault and the other driver has insurance, the loss of value on a collision-repaired automobile is permanent. If your car is new or expensive or you were planning on selling the automobile or trading it in for another automobile, it is particularly disheartening. Before you sell or trade in the automobile for far less than it would have been worth before the accident, file a claim against the insured’s insurance company for a loss of economic value, called a diminished-value claim.

Repair your car at an authorized service center to ensure that the work is done properly. Provide the body shop with the information about the insured’s insurance policy, and the body shop estimator will work with the insured’s insurance company to handle the repairs to your car and payment for those repairs.

Contact the insured’s insurance company, and inform them you will be filing a diminished-value claim for the loss of value on your car due to the accident. The insured’s insurance company will send a claims adjuster to inspect your car to ensure that it was properly repaired.

Take your car to several dealerships or automobile sales lots, and obtain a written trade-in value for your car. Compare the trade-in values you receive with the Kelly Blue Book trade-in value, which can be found online.

Send a copy of the trade-in information and Kelly Blue Book information to the insured’s insurance company with a request for what you feel the economic loss is on your car due to the accident. Start high, as the insurance company will start low. If you can meet somewhere in the middle, you might get a good part of your overall economic loss returned.


  • If you own a high-dollar luxury automobile or an exotic automobile, you should consider hiring a professional in diminished-value appraisal. It can be well worth the money on expensive automobiles.