The point of car insurance is to make you whole again after an accident.
But no matter how expertly repaired, a car with an accident history will likely be worth less than one without -- even if the car looks as good as new and runs better than it ever has.
A car that has never been in a crash may be worth $15,000 at resale but thousands less if it has been in an accident and repaired. There's a way to make up the difference: a diminished value claim.
Diminished value insurance claims allow car owners to recover the difference between a car's pre-accident value and its value after repairs.Don't expect the insurance company to help. Some car owners file on their own, but others hire a private company to document the lower value. If the insurance company resists, owners may have to take them to court. "It's definitely a challenge," says Shane Fisher, an attorney in Winter Park, Fla. "You have to put up a fight."