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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A tree fell on my car due to neglect by a property owner. Long story short, I have $5000+ worth of damage. It was a brand new 2013 Volt that I have had for 3 months with less then 2000 miles on it.

The question I have is regarding the diminished value of the car after being in accident. IMO, the insurance company should reimburse me for the diminished value. Does anyone have any experience with this or recommend a company or service?

Also, how much has the car value diminished because of this accident?

Any help is appreciated!!
 

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I dont have any personal experience with this, so I'd likely ask my insurance agent.

Maybe this tool will also help: diminished value :)
 

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This might not be helpful information in this particular instance, but my Allstate policy provides for new car replacement if a new car is totaled during the first three years of ownership. Other underwriters also provide such coverage. If your policy does not include such coverage you might ask your agent why not.

KNS
 

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This might not be helpful information in this particular instance, but my Allstate policy provides for new car replacement if a new car is totaled during the first three years of ownership. Other underwriters also provide such coverage. If your policy does not include such coverage you might ask your agent why not.

KNS
Unfortunately $5000+ damage isn't totaled, so new car replacement isn't really an option. Shouldn't the property owner's insurance be paying this, not you? Alas, I highly doubt you will get anything more that the repair costs covered - that's just how insurance works. When you try to sell this car, the CarFax will show it had been worked on, there's no way around that.
 

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Use an online service to get an official estimate. The calculation uses the value of vehicle, extentof damage cost of repairs, etc. Expect to get half the number you present to the insurance company.
 

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That sucks man. Last thing you'd expect is a tree falling on your car.

About diminished value claims.,...if you are using your own insurance co to pay for repairs, you can't file for diminished value. That only comes into play if another party's insurance is on the hook for repairs, and even then, it'll be like pulling teeth. Good luck.
 

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Diminshed Value payment is required under Georgia law, but the insurance companies underpay it pretty badly. Here's a web site with plenty of useful info: http://diminishedvalueofgeorgia.com/

Bottom line is that diminished value is a legitimate part of any liability claim anywhere in the county, but negotiating it with the payer might be nearly impossible. But when it's your own insurance company paying, it will all depend on your policy terms and state law.
 

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If the tree was dead (where the owner could be reasonably expected to know it was a liability) and fell, you could indeed collect against the owner. If the tree was alive, then it falling over is considered an act of God (or otherwise unforeseeable) and they aren't responsible.
 

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The onus is on you to prove diminished value - something that is virtually impossible to do. It has to go something like this:
Get an offer on your vehicle, have the tree fall on it within the hour, get the car repaired in an extremely timely fashion, get an offer on your vehicle that is significantly less than the previous offer (after all, time has elapsed also). Boom - diminished value.

Notice, I didn't say that this situation didn't suck.
 

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Unless YOU had a tree service examine the tree prior to the incident and then forwarded that report to the property owner advising them of the problem, then you have no case...:(

Unless the tree was obviously dead...and you have photos of said dead tree PRIOR to the incident...
I do believe you are incorrect. I believe most (if not all) courts would rule that any property owner has a responsibility to damage caused by equipment or real property (trees) owned or otherwise used on their property to others property as long as the damage was due to unreasonable negligence and/or not by act of nature. I do believe there are enough cases which demonstrate that property owners are negligent if trees cause damage to others property and (1) is not due to acts of nature(God), and the tree's state was such that it was/had become a hazard. As a property owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your own neglect for the care of your trees does not cause undue harm to someone else either on your property by permission, or to the property of other adjacent to others. That would not include storms (nature) which would unreasonably carry a tree (or part of a tree) beyond the property bounds regardless of condition (since this would be construed to have been due to the action of the storm and not unreasonable care on the part of the property owner).

You should be able to employ a tree service to ascertain the health of the tree (or part of) that caused the damage. Then use that to demonstrate that the property owner was negligent in keeping the tree from being a hazard to your property.

Establishing Diminished value would be trickier, but if you can compile enough sales data on undamaged and damaged (similar) you can establish the Diminished value as well (but that isn't going to be easy to do). There is precedent in contract law that says the court would favor the party which was damaged, but you really don't have a contract here - not even an implied contract (which you might have had your car been on his property with permission).
 

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A tree fell on my car .., I have $5000+ worth of damage....
The question I have is regarding the diminished value of the car after being in accident. IMO, the insurance company should reimburse me for the diminished value. Does anyone have any experience with this or recommend a company or service?

..!!
my only experience is that your own insurance ( auto, home and renters) is the primary coverage that you have for this sort of incident, not that of the person who owned the tree (this may be state dependent.) Call your insurance company and ask them. whether your policies cover you for lost value is dependent on what the policies actually say say, you should have verified that the coverage met your needs when you bought it. They cover what they say they cover... and nothing more....
 

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my only experience is that your own insurance ( auto, home and renters) is the primary coverage that you have for this sort of incident, not that of the person who owned the tree (this may be state dependent.) Call your insurance company and ask them. whether your policies cover you for lost value is dependent on what the policies actually say say, you should have verified that the coverage met your needs when you bought it. They cover what they say they cover... and nothing more....
Only if you subrogate the claim. Most folks do, but you may well be better off to pursue the claim yourself (YMMV and you should consult an attorney). In any case, the ultimate cost will fall to the owner of the tree (assuming the legal ruling would go in favor of the plaintiff).
 

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my only experience is that your own insurance ( auto, home and renters) is the primary coverage that you have for this sort of incident, not that of the person who owned the tree (this may be state dependent.) Call your insurance company and ask them. whether your policies cover you for lost value is dependent on what the policies actually say say, you should have verified that the coverage met your needs when you bought it. They cover what they say they cover... and nothing more....
Only if you subrogate the claim. Most folks do, but you may well be better off to pursue the claim yourself (YMMV and you should consult an attorney). In any case, the ultimate cost will fall to the owner of the tree (assuming the legal ruling would go in favor of the plaintiff).
 

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My 2012 Volt was hit in the side by another driver. The repair cost was about $12,000. Her insurance company paid for repairs, plus gave me 20% of the repair cost for diminished value. Also, it took 6 weeks to do the repairs. They paid for a rental. I kept all of the gas receipts for the rental, and they reimbursed me for that since my car was electric and I would not have been buying gas normally. Not sure if that is the info you were looking for, but I do have a little experience with diminished value on a Volt.

After the repairs, I didn't want a wrecked car, so I traded in my 2012 Volt and bought a 2013.
 

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Only if you subrogate the claim. Most folks do, but you may well be better off to pursue the claim yourself (YMMV and you should consult an attorney). In any case, the ultimate cost will fall to the owner of the tree (assuming the legal ruling would go in favor of the plaintiff).
I'm sure you are correct, but in the 2 situations I am familiar with, one in Connecticut and one in Rhode island, the homeowners insurance of the damaged property paid for the repair. not the insurance company of the tree property owner. in neither case were lawyers involved, just a call to the insurance company: "a tree fell on my garage"
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow. Didn't think this would generate this much conversation. Thanks for all the help!

The property owner was aware of potential hazard, as warned by the landlord next door. In fact, the neighbor cut a few of his trees down. I also have picture of his property and their is plenty of neglect in the landscaping and also building.

Does anyone know a good attorney in PA who might be able to help?
 

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theres several things you can do to help your case.

1] obviously take pictures of the general property and property area of the neighbor property.

2] turn the neigbor into the city for code violations and neglect.. most likely if the place is as you describe there will be many... these can be used as evidence that the general state of the property is owner neglect as opposed to an accidental tree-limb falling on your car..

3] once this is complete, contact the owner;s insurance directly stating that their insured was cited for multiple violations and therefore they need to step up and help you with diminished value payment..

and finally as a last resoirt you hire an attorney.. you will likely have to pay and it will be more than what you lose in the value of the car...

-Christopher
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So obstacle number one is done. The insurance company accepted responsibility as they should have. Now I have to determine the diminished value which is the trickiest part. I am using offered from CarMax, Edmunds, etc and comparing them to sales data from eBay and other cars listed. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
 

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Congratulations!

I just closed my case as well. As far as the DV claim went, as new as my car is, the dealer price technique was worthless. I ended up hiring a company -- http://www.collisionclaims.com

Its a paid service, but was well worth it. It was also the smoothest of the processes I underwent throughout the whole ordeal.Why can't insurance companies and collision centers be easier to work with?

I got enough on the DV claim to pay down my loan and shorten the remainder of car notes by almost two years. My insurance company didn't even question the report. They paid the full requested value.
 
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