Sunday, July 28, 2013

CALIFORNIA AUTO DIMINISHED VALUE AND STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY - HIRE A GOOD LAWYER

CALIFORNIA AUTO DIMINISHED VALUE AND STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY

NOTE: Since this article appeared and after many conversations with claim supervisors at State Farm Insurance Company in California, the insurance company no longer requires mandatory physical inspections of vehicles in order to make claims for inherent diminished value.


ALTURAS, California - Our company prepares automobile diminished value reports in all 50 states. Inherent diminished value, as many people know, simply means that, as a result of previous repairs to a motor vehicle and the resultant bad Carfax report, the vehicle is worth less than a similar vehicle that was never involved in a collision. Insurance companies have resisted paying diminished value claims but, due to prevailing case law in most states, they have all grudgingly accepted their responsibility to do so. State Farm Insurance Company is included in that group, however, in California, that insurer has recently added yet another obstacle to vehicle owners receiving fair compensation for diminished value. Even though inherent diminished value assumes that vehicles were properly repaired, State Farm in California now refuses to honor diminished value claims unless your independent appraiser physically inspects your repaired vehicle. Translated, if you live in an area like Alturas, California - where there are no licensed auto appraisers for miles - and have a diminished value claim, unless you drive hundreds of miles to where you can find a qualified appraiser, you're out of luck. Similarly, if you wish to employ a highly-rated appraiser like St. Lucie Appraisal that is from a different state , again, you're out of luck. These both amount to an unfair claim practices. With it's stricter food safety and auto emissions standards, isn't California the one state you'd expect would protect it's citizens from being held hostage by insurance companies?

I called State Farm to ask why they would implement such an arbitrary and capricious procedure, contrary to how their company handles diminished value claims in the other 49 states. After some wrangling, I managed to speak to a claims representative, Alex Svetich, who kept robotically informing me that all third-party diminished value claims in California, regardless of the fact that claimants had no issues with repair quality, necessitated an inspection by the claimant's independent appraiser. Upon hearing my reasons why this amounted to unfair claims practice and was illogical in every sense of the word, Mr. Svetich simply kept repeating that it was "company policy." My request to speak with a supervisor was denied.

As I mentioned, the vehicle owner who called me for a diminished value appraisal lives in Alturas, California which is about as remote an area as you'll find. State Farm's policy not only forces that person to drive hundreds of miles to get an appraisal, it limits his ability to seek out the best appraiser. The largest of the independent auto diminished value appraisers in the US are from Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona. State Farm has effectively shut them out of the California diminished value market - a clear restriction of trade.

Hiring an aggressive attorney who specializes in auto diminished value cases would seem to be the only answer if you live in California and are pursuing a claim against a State Farm-insured driver. Perhaps suing the negligent driver personally will convince State Farm to take a more equitable approach to it's handling of automobile diminished value claims in California.

paypal payment button The fee for an Automobile Diminished Value Report is $275.00. You may also make your Credit Card Payment by telephone, call 772-359-4300. Credit card payments can be made on the PayPal page. Click on "Don't have a PayPal account?" to be taken to the secure credit card payment page. 

After making your secure payment please email the body shop estimate or the insurance company appraisal to contact@stlucieappraisal.net or FAX to 772-466-8400.

NOTE: TESLA OR OTHER EXOTIC CAR OWNERS PLEASE CALL 772-359-4300 TO ARRANGE FOR AN AUTOMOBILE DIMINISHED VALUE APPRAISAL.