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Diminution in Value and Securing Maximum Benefits

Fri Sep 28th, 2018 on     Property Insurance,    

If you are involved in a dispute with your insurer over benefits owed in the event that your property has diminished in value (following an accident), then you may be entitled to bring an action against the insurer to secure the desired benefits.  Effectively bringing a diminished value claim can be quite a challenge, however, given that Florida law does not allow such benefits recovery by default unless the insurance policy specifically empowers the claimant to recover benefits for diminution in value.

What is diminution in value?

Generally speaking, property — such as a motor vehicle — tends to lose value after an accident.  If it has not been adequately repaired, then the loss of value is quite obvious.  On the other hand, even if it has been repaired perfectly and returned to a condition that is otherwise impossible to differentiate from “new,” the property will lose at least some of its original value.  Purchasers who become aware of the fact that a motor vehicle has an accident history are less likely to pay as much for the vehicle than if it had not been involved in accident.  This is a fairly well-studied trend in purchasing.

Given the likelihood that your property has diminished in value, adequate compensation must account for such loss.  If you are submitting a benefits claim with your insurer, then you may be wondering whether you are entitled to recover benefits that cover the diminished value of your property.

Let’s take a look.

Availability of First-Party Diminished Value Claims Depends on Insurance Policy

Diminished value claims can be somewhat limited in Florida.  Though Florida entitles those who have suffered harm to secure damages for diminished value of their chattel property (in actions brought against the negligent defendant), claims for benefits submitted to insurance companies are based on contract law.

In other words, “first-party” diminished value claims — in which the insurance claimant submits a benefits claim to their insurer for losses relating to diminished value — are not available by default under Florida law.

Whether you can make such a claim depends on the particularities of your insurance policy.  If your insurance policy grants you such coverage, then you will be entitled to secure benefits for diminished value.  If not, then you will have to seek alternative avenues for compensation of diminished value losses.

Bringing a Third-Party Claim

If your insurance policy does not entitle you to benefits for losses relating to the diminished value of your property, then you may seek such compensation by bringing a “third-party” claim against the defendant who is directly liable for your losses.  For example, if you are injured in a car accident collision, but your insurance policy does not allow for diminished value recovery, then you could obtain compensation for the diminished value of your car pursuant to a lawsuit brought against the defendant-driver.

Schedule a Consultation With a Skilled Miami Property Insurance Lawyer Today

Here at Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A., our attorneys boast several decades of experience advocating on behalf of insured claimants in disputes with their insurers, helping them obtain the benefits they deserve.  We have a long and consistent track record of success in handling a range of insurance disputes, including those that involve real property, personal property, and diminished value automobiles.

If you’ve sustained damage to your motor vehicle, then chances are that you’re feeling at least somewhat overwhelmed by the range of potential losses you can claim — depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to receive benefits that cover loss of use, repair costs or replacement costs, and potentially, diminution in value.  These claims can be quite complicated, however, particularly in Florida where first-party diminution in value claims may only be available in certain policies.  We encourage you to get in touch with our firm today to schedule an appointment.

Call (305) 577-3996 or use our online contact form to connect to an experienced Miami property insurance lawyer at Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A. for assistance.

We look forward to working with you to help you secure full and adequate benefits.

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