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Can I claim diminished value for a leased car?

Seattle, WA |

I leased a car about 18 months ago, my car has around 9000 miles and a driver rear ended me while I was making a turn. the police officer cited the driver and his insurance company accepted the liability. at this time the car is in body shop for repairs and I provided in writing that car has to be repaired in pre-loss condition. dealer said that if the car is repair to original condition I won't have to pay penalty when I turn my car in at end of the lease. I am wondering if I can claim diminished value for my leased car? do insurance company pay DV for leased car to lessee or lessor? if lessee get paid is it possible that lessor can ask the money to be given to them?

Attorney Answers 1


Regardless of whether your car is leased, financed or wholly owned, if it's been in a collision, the at-fault party is responsible for all damages, including diminished value. Diminished market value can be determined by taking it to two or three dealers and having them give you an estimate of its value after fully disclosing the collision damage. Have them provide the estimates in writing on dealership letterhead with the name and phone number of the person estimating the market value.

The claim must be made within 3 years of the collision, and typically it has to be made concurrently with any other claim (property damage, bodily injury). In other words, you get one opportunity to settle all of your claims. The release that you sign when you settle will typically cover all claims.

Only the claimant will receive the money from a diminished value claim, unless there is a total loss. If a total loss occurs the titled owner will receive the claim settlement. When the lease is up, the leasing company should be on notice regarding the collision, and will take that into account with all other damage, mileage overages, etc. in determining what the difference is between the car's actual market value and previously assessed market value. Check your lease agreement to determine how that will be handled.

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I marked this as a good answer. I'd like to add that insurance companies usually will not accept three dealer "quotes" but instead will ask that you seek an independent appraisal. The appraiser, in turn - although most do not - should contact up to six dealerships. Make sure that your Florida appraiser has an adjusters license from the FL Dept. of Financial Services. All reasons why insurers will deny or downgrade settlement offers. I can go on and on but I'll leave you with one more piece of advice. Hiring an out-of-state appraiser, even if he or she holds a Florida adjusters license, who cannot appear to testify if necessary, presents another uneccessary liability. Feel free to read my auto blog at Feel free to read my personal property blog

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