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Vancouver, Washington

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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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Farmers Insurance and depreciation after repairs

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The law in most states has long provided that when someone damages your property, they become responsible for getting it fixed. In addition, they become responsible for any loss in value, or depreciation, suffered by the item after it is repaired. Many items of personal property don’t have the same value after a repair. Automobiles are a common example. Sometimes referred to as “diminished value” by the insurance industry, autos tend to lose value after any significant repairs. Figuring the loss can be difficult. Most attorneys look for qualified appraisers who can research the value of similar cars in the area. Under the law, the depreciation is supposed to be determined by calculating the value of the car just before the accident and just after repairs. The depreciation is the difference between the two. Qualified appraisers will tell you there is no one size fits all formula to determine the amount of loss. Every car has to be looked at individually. Higher end cars seem to suffer more depreciation. So do classics or antiques. Newer vehicles tend to suffer more than more vintage models. Most appraisers recommend anyone with a car less than five years old that suffered frame damage or needed repairs in excess of a few thousand dollars consider having it looked at to determine if it depreciated. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do whatever they can to avoid paying for the loss. It seems no matter who you use for an appraiser, the insurance company will find someone who will appraise the same loss for significantly less. Recently, many consumers have had the bad luck to be hit by someone insured through Famers Insurance. Lately, many consumers report Farmers has been refusing to pay for any depreciation caused by their customers. This leaves people with no choice but to visit a lawyer and file a lawsuit. Of course, most don’t and simply eat the loss. All to the benefit of the insurance company.