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Diminished Value Claim Manual

Diminished Value Claim Manual

Given below are two chapters from our Diminished Value Claim Manual, for your reference.

Thank you for choosing Benchmark Auto Appraisers L.L.C. to help you through this difficult time during your diminished value claim!  Feel free to call us if you have any questions. Our phone number is 877-888-6113. We have numerous full-time staff members to help with any questions. You may have. Please let us assist you in the claims process.  The claim staff can be reached at 716-523-6999 or 877-888-6113.

Please do not send this information to the insurance company.  This is for Benchmark Auto Appraisers clients’ help only with your diminished value claim as documented in Diminished Value Claim Manual. Whether your diminished value claim is in New York or any of the 50 States our Diminished Value Claim Manual resources will definitely help. We believe It is very important for clients to have the resources (Diminished Value Claim Manual) needed so they are able to negotiate a fair settlement. Nothing is more important to our company than to have happy customers. We are not attorneys and cannot give you legal advice.

Diminished Value Auto Appraisals

Chapter 1: Diminished Value Claim Manual

  1. Once the diminished value claim has been approved by you, the report is submitted to the appropriate insurance company. Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC will let you know that the report has been faxed to your adjuster.  Typically, we will send you the draft of the claim and you must email or call us with approval to send the claim to your approved adjuster.  We have also enclosed a few sample letters for you to fill out as well.
  2. The insurance company will rarely contact the claimant in a reasonable, timely fashion, so we believe it is prudent to give the insurance company a day or two to review the appraisal. Then you need to call the assigned adjuster.  The claim information will be on the report, so you will know who to call, where to call, and your claim number.  There are times of high volume (ie: during storms, hail, etc.) which can slow down the process, but it is important to stay on top of your claim.  The assigned adjuster is the person on the front page of the diminished value appraisal completed by Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC. The adjuster will either send you a check for the full Diminished Value amount within a few days of receiving our appraisal, or they will start the negotiation process.  Typically, it is the latter. We have also attached a demand letter you can send to the adjuster as well.
  3. Upon talking to the adjuster, always have in mind what you want to say before the conversation starts. Call the adjuster and tell the adjuster that you have hired a licensed appraiser and that they owe you the amount of diminished value as documented in our report on the results page. Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC has enclosed many rebuttals which include likely excuses that the insurance company might use. It is important to read over our material before you talk with the adjusters.  Also, always keep in mind what you are willing to accept as the minimum amount for your diminished value claim. The number one rule when working with the insurance company is to make sure all offers and or denials are in writing.  You need have the offer documented in writing so you can forward those to our Benchmark Auto Appraisers team. Feel free to email us with questions as well at regarding your diminished value claim.
  4. When negotiating with the diminished value adjuster, these adjusters are not certified appraisers. Keep in mind that they may want to inspect your vehicle. That is okay. Don’t negotiate against yourself.  The insurance company may initially give you a lowball offer.  That is fine. Make sure you get any offer in writing, we can help you further. The adjuster also needs to show in writing how they came up with the offer, including their methodology.
  5. Benchmark Auto Appraisers will be here to help you through the negotiations with the insurance company. We also have enclosed a few sample letters in the Diminished Value Claim Manual for you can fill out and send to the insurance company as well. We are comprised of licensed insurance professionals and licensed appraisers. We have over 42 years of experience.  You are in excellent hands, and you chose the right company to help you through this process.

Chapter 2: Diminished Value Claim Manual

The following is a list of general rebuttal and sample conversations to review.  If the adjuster tries to use them, you need to be comfortable defending your position and advocating your claim.  Most of the time you will not need all the information; however, information is power and we want our clients to make informed decisions with reference to our Diminished Value Claim Manual.

  1. Low Ball Offers – Get them to hire their own diminished value specialist. You paid a fee for a licensed, independent appraiser, and they need to do the same to show they are handling the claim in good faith. Also, you can decrease your offer in nominal increments to show you are acting in good faith.  We can also help with demand letters that will help you with the negotiations.
  2. The adjuster refuses to return your call – Document every time you call and leave a message with the assigned adjuster.  On the third message, say that you have documented each time that you have called them.  If the adjuster does not call you back you within 48 hours, you need to call the supervisor. If you don’t have the supervisor’s information please call the insurance company’s general number and give them your claim number and the insurance representative should be able to tell you who the supervisor is.   If you do call the supervisor, and they continue to not call you back, tell the supervisor you are being forced to call the state insurance commissioner.   Please tell the supervisor you will be reporting them for using delay tactics and acting in bad faith.  On Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC website we have all of the insurance commissioners’ telephone numbers for each state. Also, we can help you with demand letters feel free to contact Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC to get help with those demand letters. If the insurance company refuses to put an offer in writing, and then make sure you call the insurance company and get the adjusters’ email address.  Email the adjuster and tell them you work all day and all correspondence needs to be in writing.  If the adjuster continues to call you please do not pick up the phone.  Email the adjuster again giving them 48 hours to respond in writing or email them you will make an insurance commissioner complaint regarding the delay tactics and acting in bad faith.
  3. The adjuster may be calculating your diminished value settlement by using the Georgia 17c formula – The 17c formula came out of the class action lawsuit against State Farm in 2001.  It only applies to claims in that particular lawsuit against State Farm in Georgia.  Your claim is a third-party claim, and the diminished value claims in the 17c formula were all first-party claimants.  You do not have a policy with the insurance company, you are a claimant.  The insurance company is trying to compare apples to oranges.  Please forward any offers to us so that we can help you further with demand letters.  We have specific demand letters regarding the 17 C formula. Please call Benchmark Auto Appraisers to help you further.
  4. The repairs to your car were done to industry standards, and the vehicle has not sustained diminished value – Go to a local dealership and obtain a trade in offer documenting the pre-loss value of the vehicle to the post-repaired amount for the vehicle. CarMax is great at giving dealer trade-in quotes quickly and easily.  CarMax has a form that takes them 10 minutes to fill in. I have seen thousands of these dealer quotes and in general, the quotes help increases any current Diminished Value offer.  CarMax will typically document the monetary loss in an easy form.  The more documentation you have as reinforcement to the diminished value, typically, the more you will get in your diminished value settlement.  It is much easier to get a local dealer quote if you do not mention you are working on a DV Claim.  When getting a local dealer quote,  just mention the fact your vehicle was in a loss/ Collison and bring a copy of the repair estimate to show the wreck. Many times, dealerships are scared to get involved with Diminished Value Claims.  Dealerships have been sued by insurance companies regarding these claims, so they have been trained to stay away from them.
  5. The adjuster states you need to sell your vehicle to prove you have lost value in your vehicle – Do not sell your vehicle because the vehicle is your actual proof that the vehicle has been diminished/ in a loss. Many times, insurance companies want to inspect your vehicle.  If you sell the vehicle, then the insurance company will sometimes use that as an excuse not to pay the claim.  Ask them to show you the state law in writing where it states you must sell your car to prove your diminished value claims. The number one rule when dealing with an insurance company is to have the adjuster put everything in writing. If you have already sold the vehicle, please forward us the bill of sale showing what the dealership gave you for the vehicle.  Many times, when clients trade in their vehicle they will take a significant loss so that finical loss reinforces the damage the client has due to the wreck.   We are not attorneys, but many attorneys call these types of claims a liquid damage claim.
  6. The adjuster states they have repaired the vehicle to industry standards and the insurance company is not obligated to pay diminished value – The insurance company is obligated to make you whole financially. The insurance company chose to insure the at-fault party and the at-fault party was negligent.  If a party has been injured and/ or his vehicle has been injured because of the other’s negligence, the victim is entitled to be made whole financially.  You are just asking to be made whole and in the same position, you were in before their insured hit you.  If repairs to the vehicle do not restore the vehicle to its original condition and value, then you are entitled to compensation for the difference.  The case law for every state is typically on the internet and easy for you to access.  Any denial the adjuster verbally states to you makes sure you have them put that in writing and forward to us.
  7. Benchmark has not looked at the vehicle, so the at-fault company does not have to pay the diminished value claim – Typically, we do inspect the vehicle but not always.  It is Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC policy that if we can save our clients money, we will.  If during the negotiations, the adjuster mentions the vehicle was not inspected have them put in writing that they will pay the listed diminished value amount in our appraisal once the vehicle has been inspected.  Once done, email Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC at Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC and we can facilitate the inspection typically within 48hours for a nominal fee.  Also, many times if clients take pictures of the vehicle with their phone and forward those to us that will suffice as a physical inspection.
  8. The insurance company states you need to file the diminished value claim with your insurance company – This is typically false.  99% of the time diminished value is excluded under the liability portion of your policy.  Typically, the only exclusions are under the UMPD portion of your policy or if you live in GA.
  9. The adjuster continues to tell you information that you feel is false – If it sounds untrue, it probably is.  Have your adjuster write down and/or have him email to you the information you feel is false.  Typically, adjusters will not put in writing a falsehood.  If the information changes once you ask them to write it down, you got your answer.
  10. The adjuster keeps on quoting case law stating they don’t have to pay third-party diminished value – Have the adjuster put in writing the name and number of the law. Their information is on our website Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC Ask them specifically about the law.  Make sure the employee knows the claim is a third-party claim.  Once you have the correct information, make sure you have the employee’s name and number and refer your adjuster to that specific person.
  11. The insurance company does hire another adjuster (not appraiser), and they come in very low – Ask the insurance company for a copy of that appraisal and forward the appraisal to Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC at We will help you find discrepancies in the appraisal and help you re-negotiate the Diminished Value or Total loss settlement. We will help you with a demand letter also. Many times, the other appraiser will use the 17C amount, and AGA can help you with the negotiations. Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC will help you from start to finish.
  12. The adjuster continues to give you a low ball/nuisance settlement, and they state they do not have the authority to increase the offer – Ask them to give you the name and number of the person who does have the authority. Also, if they don’t want to give you their supervisor’s name and number, you can look up the insurance company’s toll-free number on their website or letterhead.  Once you call the toll-free number, give them your claim number and ask for the adjuster’s supervisor’s number.

The above information is not legal advice.  We have made every effort to ensure this information is as accurate as possible, but we assume no responsibility for any errors in this information. 

Final Thoughts:

Last of all, if you itemize your taxes, you may be able to get a significant write-off for the diminished value loss.  For example, if you have a claim for $25,000 and the insurance company only pays $15,000, you may have a $10,000 loss you can write off on your taxes.  You should contact your local tax preparer or CPA.  Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC can fax your appraisal over to your CPA,  if needed just let us know.

We at Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC hope this helps answer all of your questions, but if you have additional questions, feel free to contact Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC  at 716-523-6999 or 877-888-6113. We know this can be a difficult process but can guide you through the process.


Daniel R. Jendrowski ,

Owner of Benchmark Auto Appraisers LLC.

We have also enclosed numerous demand letters for you to fill out.



There are several serious factors which potential buyers will consider important if they know the vehicle has been in such an accident including but not limited to:


There are several serious factors which potential buyers will consider important if they know the vehicle has been in such an accident including but not limited to:

  1. Loss of resale value as a damaged vehicle:
  2. Void factory warranty (which is common if there is a serious accident).
  3. Type of actual replacement parts used on the vehicle, especially in hidden areas.
  4. Undiscovered damages.
  5. Increased likelihood of failure of bearings, seals and electrical components.
  6. Impossibility to duplicate immersion rust proofing techniques of factory (especially on welds and hidden parts).
  7. Paint may not age or wear in a similar manner to factory paint.
  8. Factory assembly cannot be duplicated with an after-market/accident repair.
  9. Vehicle no longer qualifies for the Manufacturers’ “Certified Pre-Owned” program.
  10. There can be no valid evidence that the vehicle’s frame or Uni-body structure has been restored to all factory specifications, tolerances, strength and rigidity to ensure deployment of the supplemental restraints system at the factory specified levels of impact in the event of subsequent accident.
  11. The possible use of inferior generic parts, especially in areas not visible.
  12. The lack of evidence that the repairs were properly performed, especially in non-visible areas of the vehicle.
  13. The lack of post-repair testing with respect to safety, such as testing the “crumple zones”.
  14. The fact that the vehicle generally will not be accepted by a new car dealer as a trade-in based upon the fact that the vehicle cannot be resold as a “Certified Pre-Owned” vehicle.
  15. The vehicles with such auto body damage, or which have been in an accident, are “branded” as having the potential for problems, and though not reflected on the “title” to the vehicle, are commonly reported by such private enterprises as “CarFax” Vin Check and Wreck-Check.
  16. As a result, with damages of the nature sustained by the subject vehicle, buyers are likely to “walk away” without considering the purchase. If an automobile has had significant repairs, a buyer must assume the worst condition of the vehicle.  This leaves the damages to be more than just the costs of repair, regardless of the quality of repairs.  A repaired vehicle which has sustained serious damages will result in “diminished value” damages.
  17. Dealers are reluctant to take vehicles in on trade that has been in an accident for several reasons: Companies like CarFax, Auto Check have branded the vehicle as being in a collision. Most dealers rely on selling Certified Used Cars. Such vehicles branded as being in a collision are not eligible for this certification and most dealers dispose of the trade-ins at auction at a substantially reduced price.
  18. Research shows that 61% of vehicle purchasers will not purchase a vehicle that was in an accident.
Diminished Value Claim Manual

Daniel “Dan” Jendrowski

Certified Public Auto Appraiser Diminish Value Experts B.C.A.A. & I.A.C.P.

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