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Lessons Learned about Farmers Insurance Diminished Value and Rental Car Reimbursement

Or, How Not to End Up Like Me Losing Thousands of Dollars

FIRST: I AM NOT A LAWYER.  DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING SAID HERE AS LEGAL ADVICE.  The information provided on this site does not constitute legal advice and must not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. It is provided solely for use as a reference. If you need legal advice, you may wish to consult an attorney

About a year ago, my wife was hit by a careless driver, putting her brand new Mercedes CLK Convertible in the shop for over a month.  I expected that since the accident wasn’t our fault, we would be reimbursed for all our rental car expense (while the car was getting repaired) and be reimbursed for the Diminished Value associated with the car now that it’s been tainted in the marketplace.  I also expected that since this case was pretty cut-and-dry, and we had all our facts straight, so it shouldn’t be much of a hassle. 

I was completely wrong.

I hope to help others avoid a similar fate.  However, I am not trying to cover any Personal Injury-type damages, the web is already littered with information about handling these claims.  However, the web is not so littered with painful lessons learned trying to recover property damage.  Unlike Personal Injury claims, where a victim can stand to get a decent payout (although not without suffering for it), Property Damage claims are about recovering what you’ve already lost and it is very easy for one to lose money if you don’t know how to handle them.  And the nicer the vehicle you were driving, the more you have to lose. 

But before I begin, there are two persons I would like to thank tremendously for their help and input.  One is “Dr. Settlement” who maintains the fantastic website .  The other is David Williamson who maintains a wealth of knowledge at  I owe them both very deeply for their help and insights.  My losses could have been prevented had I discovered them earlier.  Spend some time on those sites and you will not be the unknowledgeable person the insurance companies are hoping you to be.

Let’s get started.  There are two aspects of property damage which I became painfully familiar with: rental car reimbursement, and Diminished Value.

First, let’s knock out rental car reimbursement.  I didn’t have the coverage on my policy because I believed that if I didn’t cause an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should pay for the rental.  In a perfect world, I am right.  But bridging to reality, a couple of things to be aware of here….

That’s about it for rental reimbursement.  Whoever would have thought it could be so tough.  Now let’s get on to the truly hard topic: Diminished Value (DV).

If you’re reading this, you already have a good idea what Diminished Value is.  For those who don’t, essentially it is the loss of market value a vehicle sustains as a result of having been in an accident.  There are two subcategories of Diminished Value:

Good luck out there everyone.  If one person reads this and doesn’t repeat my mistakes, then it was worth writing.



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