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When you let your customers know you’re truly looking out for their best interest by making them aware of diminished value compensation, they will become loyal advocates of your shop for life.
The collision repair industry is getting tougher every year. COVID-19 is certainly a big factor, but there are broader negative trends that have been taking place for decades.
As insurance companies choose to total more and more vehicles, fewer cars need repair. New computerized safety systems help drivers avoid more accidents. Labor costs are rising while insurance companies are putting more pricing pressure on shops than ever. Shops need an edge to survive and prosper in this environment.
One way to gain an edge is to increase the number of positive online reviews and personal referrals your shop gets. What if you could explode your shop’s online reviews and word-of-mouth referrals by simply telling your customers about a little-known auto insurance claim? You can.
Diminished Value Claims
Diminished value is a legal concept that applies to many types of property but is most commonly used with cars. Inherent diminished value is the loss in market value of a car that was in an accident and then properly repaired. It equals the difference between the market value of the car before the accident and the market value of the car after it experienced an accident and was repaired.
With the proliferation of vehicle history services such as CARFAX and AutoCheck, the accident stigma is stronger than ever in the auto consumer’s mind.
As a body shop professional, you know that a car is never the same after a collision, and today’s car buyers demand steep discounts on vehicles with accident history or even refuse to buy them altogether. With the proliferation of vehicle history services such as CARFAX and AutoCheck, the accident stigma is stronger than ever in the auto consumer’s mind.
Although the average diminished value amount is $4,000 – a significant sum for the average American family – fewer than one out of 100 car owners have ever heard of diminished value. And more importantly, car owners don’t realize that the same insurance company that covered their repair bill, medical expenses, rental car and loss of wages is also liable to cover diminished value. Therefore, they don’t claim it. As a result, billions of dollars in diminished value compensation go unclaimed every year.
How Is Diminished Value Claimed?
Claiming diminished value is straightforward. The car owner gets a certified diminished value appraisal from an auto appraiser and then makes a claim with the at-fault insurance company.
In Georgia, due to a court decision, the car owner can make a diminished value claim with their own insurance company under their own policy. Additionally, in many states, if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, the car owner can make a diminished value claim under their own uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist policy.
What would happen if you told your customer about diminished value and they went on to collect thousands of dollars they initially had no idea about? What would that do to that customer’s level of satisfaction and loyalty to your shop? What would it do to the number of glowing reviews you get? Do you think this customer would actively refer friends and family to you? You bet.
Educating the Customer
Introducing a customer to diminished value claims is easy. You simply tell them about it and watch their eyes light up because everyone gets it immediately. Then you tell them that if they want to learn more about this claim, they can contact an auto appraiser you know who specializes in diminished value.
Most good appraisers offer a free diminished value estimate so the customer will quickly know whether it’s worth getting an official appraisal. You can direct any further questions the customer may have to your trusted appraiser – that way, you won’t be burdened with any additional questions.
Telling your clients to pursue diminished value compensation for their vehicle is one of the best tools at your disposal to create exceptional levels of positive reviews and word-of-mouth business. It’s what they deserve – and it’s only fair.