What is Inherent Diminished Value and How it Affects an Auto Accident?

It’s quite common for some pieces of personal property to diminish in value almost immediately. For example, a computer could lose a great deal of its replacement value within days because of the ever-changing nature of technology and its use. But how does Inherent Diminished Value work for a car?

This depends on the state in which you live. But in Massachusetts, IDV is an established precedent.

What is Inherent Diminished Value?

Inherent Diminished Value, or IDV, is when a vehicle loses value due to damages caused by a no-fault accident. This is when there is a collision through no fault of your own.

As some damage is prevalent even after repairs, courts have ruled that IDV claims can help the owner be “made whole.”

These are usually filed as third-party claims. That’s because you’ll contact the at-fault party’s insurance company.

An example of this is when an accident occurs through no fault of your own that causes structural damage to the vehicle’s framework. Although repairs can be made to allow the vehicle continued use on the road, the frame itself could be altered in a way that disrupts usage as intended.

If the vehicle has less than 20,000 miles on the odometer after suffering severe structural damage, this could result in an IDV claim of roughly 10% of the vehicle’s value.

Is There a Difference in Depreciation vs Inherent Diminished Value?

Depreciation is when the value of the vehicle decreases over time due to normal wear and tear. In fact, most pieces of property will depreciate over time except for housing.

A well-maintained home will actually appreciate over the years, which is why homeownership is a great investment.

So, a vehicle with 200,000 miles will depreciate quite a bit because it has been extensively used. Even after installing a new motor, the vehicle will never be at its original MSRP.

Inherent Diminished Value, on the other hand, happens immediately upon an accident. This is why the IDV claim is much more for a new vehicle vs an older one. It hasn’t had nearly as much wear and tear.

How to Calculate Inherent Diminished Value

Let’s take a look at the calculations to establish IDV. For this example, let’s say I have a 1990 Dodge Daytona ES with 82,399 miles.

1. Establish the Car’s Value

The first thing we’ll do is estimate the vehicle’s value. This gives us a base amount. A commonly used website for finding vehicle value is the National Automobile Dealers Association, or NADA.

In my example, the value of a 1990 Dodge Daytona ES is $11,000.

2. Calculate the Value’s Base Loss

In many instances, the insurance company will calculate the base loss at a maximum of 10%. This means my Daytona’s base loss is $1,100 (11,000 x .10)

3. Use the Multiplier for Damages

Use the multiplier from the numbers below:

  • 1.00 = Severe structural damage
  • 0.75 = Major damage to structure and panels
  • 0.50 = Moderate damage to structure and panels
  • 0.25 = Minor damage to structure and panels
  • 0.00 = No structural damage or replaced panels

Let’s say my car was in an accident that severely altered the frame of the vehicle. I would use the “1.00” multiplier. So, my IDV is still at $1,100 (1100 x 1.00).

4. Use the Multiplier for Mileage

Remember when I told you about the “depreciation” of an automobile? It’ll actually play a role in the Inherent Diminished Value of your car.

Use the mileage multipliers below:

  • 1.00 = 0 < 20,000 miles
  • 0.80 = 20,000 – 39,999 miles
  • 0.60 = 40,000 – 59,999 miles
  • 0.40 = 60,000 – 79,999 miles
  • 0.20 = 80,000 – 99,999 miles
  • 0.00 = 100,000+ miles

For example, let’s now say that my vehicle had only 82,399 miles on the odometer at the time of the accident. I would use the “0.20” multiplier. As a result, my IDV would decrease further to $220 because of the mileage (1100 x 0.20).

Any vehicle that has over 100,000 miles may not qualify for an IDV claim.

When Should You File a Diminished Value Claim?

For the most part, the Inherent Diminished Value triggers when you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own. This means you’re most likely to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

If you’re involved in a hit-and-run, or if the at-fault driver is uninsured, you may be able to file a claim against your own insurance company. This is because there is no other insurer involved.

File your IDV claim as soon as possible. Some areas may have a statute of limitations or your vehicle could further decrease in value as time marches on. In any case, make sure you have supporting documentation.

What Kind of Coverage Do You Have?

Although your insurance may cover a great deal of damage, you may also receive additional restitution due to Inherent Diminished Value.

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we help our clients get what they need and deserve. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help keep your automobile covered.

Not all repairs can completely restore a vehicle back to its original functionality. Can compensation help you in such a situation?

Spring Maintenance for Your Car (To Help Avoid Auto Insurance Claims!)

Keeping up with your car’s maintenance can be a hassle…but we’ve got exciting news for you! By prioritizing the maintenance schedule for your car you can avoid some potential insurance claims!

Does keeping up with my car’s maintenance really make a difference?

We know, it’s draining to try to stay up to date on car maintenance. It seems like there’s always something to fix! Unfortunately, a lot of people avoid taking care of their cars until it is too late. According to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported by Fox13, the average amount of car accidents due to poor maintenance tallies in at a whopping 45,000. You definitely don’t want to be a part of that statistic. Read on for some helpful tips to avoid insurance claims and enjoy safe travels!

What should be on my maintenance checklist?

One item you’ll definitely want to include on your checklist is to inspect your tires! Make sure they still have good traction and check to be sure the tire pressure has an ideal PSI. This is something you’ll want to do routinely – not only during springtime!

Other items to include on your auto maintenance checklist:

A few other important things to stay on top of:

  1. Schedule an oil filter change. Oil reduces the friction between moving parts in a running engine. If you don’t have your oil changed you could do serious damage to your engine.
  2. Replace windshield wipers. You don’t want to be caught in rain (or snow) with inadequate wipers! You won’t be able to see what’s in front of you which could result in an accident.
  3. Check your battery. Be proactive about checking your car’s battery! Even if it seems to be working fine, it is always a good idea to have the battery inspected to prevent an unexpected failure.
  4. Check your lights. Even in normal driving conditions, using your headlights anytime you’re driving has been proven to reduce accidents by 5-10%. Why not take it a step further and make sure every light on your car is in good, working condition?

Don’t forget the finishing touch!

As part of your spring auto maintenance schedule, consider having your car detailed. Chances are high that your car looks a little worse for the wear after all of the snow and dirt from this winter. Give your car a spring cleaning that will leave you feeling refreshed and confident in your car. We recommend Neponset Circle Car Wash for all your detailing needs!

Stay up to date and stay safe!

All of the preparation in the world can’t prevent every accident, so make sure your auto coverage is sufficient by referencing this guide.  Now, no matter where you’re headed, you can travel confidently and safely knowing that you’ve stayed up to date on your maintenance! 

Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we can help you customize your auto insurance so that it works best for you. We are one of the premier local independent insurance agencies, and we truly work for our clients, not ourselves. Our team of friendly experts would be happy to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today.

Captive Versus Independent Insurance Agents For Your Automobile and Home Insurance; An Honest Comparison

When you’re shopping for insurance, knowing the different types of insurance agents is important as part of understanding whom you should work with.
 
There are two kinds of insurance agents — captive (who represents one insurance company) and independent (also known as an insurance broker).
 
Many online insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate, and Liberty Mutual depend exclusively on captive agents, but some like GEICO and Progressive rely on a mixture of captives and independents.
 
Both types of agents can provide the kind of quality expertise you need to make one of life’s important financial decisions. But there are some big differences between the two.
 
Captive agents
 
Captive agents work directly for a single insurance provider and are limited to the products of that company. For example, if you call a captive agent who works for State Farm, he or she will market and try to sell you only State Farm products. How they get paid is set by their insurance company, and they are paid by that one company.
 
On the plus side, these agents are experts in what their insurance companies have to offer. But they cannot help a client who doesn’t need or qualify for their company’s products. And captive agents usually have quotas to hit to keep their job and earn bonuses. Although that’s not terribly different from independent agents, you might feel a bit more pressure to buy car insurance from a captive agent when all you really want is term life.
 
Independent agents 
 
Independent agents, meanwhile, work for themselves and not any one insurance company. They sell policies from a variety of insurance companies, not just one, there is no increase in the premium to work with an independent insurance agent, and make most of their money through sales commissions and bonuses from the carriers.
 
Independent agents can save you some time by getting insurance quotes from a few different insurers, we have 11 insurance carriers that we can provide you with an insurance quote.
 
Which is best?
 
The type of insurance coverage you choose depends on your needs and your budget.
 
If you’re looking for multiple quotes from different companies, an independent insurance agent probably is the way to go. Vargas & Vargas Insurance can save you time and money, reach our agents at 617-298-0655.

Winter Driving And Car Accidents

Winter is a good and delightful time of the year. It brings snow to make a cute snowman and enjoy a snowball fight with our friends and family. However, these attractive aspects can make winters dangerous for drivers. As the days get colder, the risk of road accidents increases. Therefore, taking precautionary measures and driving with complete focus is important to save your life. The NHTSA mentions many tips on their website, and here are some tips and tricks to drive your vehicle during cold weather safely.

Winter Driving Tips

Drive Slowly and Super Smoothly

The trick to safe winter driving in snow is being smooth with your accelerator, steering wheel, and brakes. Every push of the brakes, turn off the wheels, or throttle movement needs to be gentle, deliberate, and gradual. It would help if you tried to be as slow as you could while driving the car.

Avoid Involving in Distractions

Most accidents happen when the driver is distracted doing other things while driving. Therefore, avoid talking to the passengers when driving in extremely cold weather, never use your phone, eat food, or listen to music at high volume. You need to avoid every type of distraction if you want to avoid an accident.

Turn On Your Lights

Turning your lights on will help other drivers on the road to see you from far. Headlights can also make your vehicle visible on extreme fog days. This way, whenever other drivers notice you on the road, they will drive carefully around you.

Avoid Driving in Harsh Weather

This is another very important winter driving tip. Driving in winters can be extremely challenging. So, if you find yourself not having to drive in dangerous weather conditions, don’t push yourself to drive in these circumstances. Cancel your journey as soon as possible and head back to your house. If the weather is too harsh to get back to the house, go to the nearest place to relax until the condition becomes appropriate for driving.

Do You Need to Report Accidents?

Many people don’t report accidents if they are not serious. But this is a wrong approach. Not only do you reduce your chances of getting insurance coverage, but you can also save others. Wondering how? Well, report accidents to the authorities in your area to find ways to solve the problem. They first try to find the cause of your accident and then opt for different ways to resolve the issue. So, even if you had a bad experience, you can save others from going through the same trauma.

Wrapping Up

Besides the mentioned winter driving tips, you also need to install high-quality tires in your vehicle. It’s also vital to check the weather conditions before stepping out of your house. If you can, keep some important things on you while traveling long distances at night. This includes extra batteries, a torch, water bottles, and snacks. So, if you have to spend the night in your car on the roadside, you will have all the essentials to pass the night. Click here to read more.

Vargas & Vargas Insurance understands that sometimes you may not be able to stay off the roads and things happen. That’s why, as a premier local independent insurance agency, we strive to build the relationships necessary to customize your insurance coverage to your needs at the right price. Contact us today.

3 Things To Do NOW For Your Car Insurance. Number Two Will Shock You!

You’re driving around with the comfort and knowledge that you’re insured in the event of an accident that damages your car, you, or another person or their property. 

Your car needs occasional maintenance and fine tuning; so does your car insurance.  Here are 3 things you can do right now to fine tune, I mean review, with your Independent Insurance Mechanic, I mean Agent.

Improve the quality of your coverage and possibly lower your premiums NOW! 

  1. Uninsured and UNDER insured motorist coverage. 
    The two “Uns” will get you every time when involved in a motor vehicle accident. You’ll want to add this additional protection to your overall insurance policy.  The additional coverage will give you perfect peace of mind and protection against the incidents involving an uninsured motorist or a motorist with insufficient coverage to compensate you for damage to your vehicle or injury to you.

  2. Your collision deductible based on the year of the vehicle. 
    As your car gets older the value decreases.  Too often you’re carrying insurance coverage based on the original value of the car when you first insured it. When you discuss your insurance with your Independent Agent during your annual insurance review, be sure he reconfigures the  current coverage to reflect the current value of the car.

  3. Personal injury protection, also known as PIP coverage.
    This is a component of auto insurance that covers medical expenses regardless of who’s at fault, and often includes lost wages. Depending on the state in which you live, PIP is either an available option or a required policy add-on. It is often called “no-fault” coverage because its inherent comprehensiveness pays out claims regardless of who is at fault in the accident. Don’t get caught without this insurance because you didn’t know it was OPTIONAL vs. MANDATED by state.

Call us today to learn about these coverages and more. Now is the time: before you need your policy to work for you the most. Your health and financial health depend on it. Call us at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review.

Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

4 Reasons to Purchase Insurance on a Car Rental

If you’ve ever been on vacation and had to rent a car, you’ve been confronted with the standard protocol of the rental agent asking you if you’d like to purchase (or waive) the optional car insurance.  

Most people are caught unawares and don’t give this simple request the full consideration it needs before they leave on holiday.

You won’t be caught unawares with this simple recommendation: always purchase the additional coverage.

When you purchase that coverage you will acquire some awesome features (you’re going to love Number 4!)

  1. Protection from a collision surcharge on your existing policy.
  2. You don’t have to worry about “loss of use” or paying for the days a rental car is out of commission and unavailable for rental for repairs due to damage you caused.
  3. Your policy deductible is waived!
  4. You get to walk away.

Technically speaking, if you already have PHYSICAL DAMAGE COVERAGE on your own auto policy, then you’re actually covered for property & liability on the rental vehicle.  That doesn’t stop us from recommending the purchase of the additional insurance even to our customers who have physical damage coverage in place.

I promised the recommendation would be simple.  Now when you’re at the car rental counter at the start of your vacation, worrying about getting to your hotel on time, hungry from a long flight, and stressed from the airport commotion, you won’t be a deer in the headlights at the rental counter.  You won’t have to stop and call your agent to inquire if you should take the coverage. You won’t have to text your neighbor if they purchase the coverage or not.

Just say, “Yes, I’ll take the coverage.”

One last piece of vacation driving advice: when driving on long winding roads in the dark, take extra caution for critters who might dodge out onto the road.  Like a deer in the headlights.

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance to ENSURE you’re INSURED properly? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Summer Preparedness Part 3: Driving

Happy days driving around on a golden Summer afternoon, or touring quaint villages, maybe driving town to town on a meandering route.  School’s out and it’s vacation time! Chances are pretty good you’ll be using your car, or a rental car to enjoy your holidays. 

You’ll want to bring an extra degree of caution to your Summer vacation driving experience.  First, you’ll be in a holiday mood.  It’s natural that your usual driving vigilance might be relaxed.  So your first challenge when you’re driving on vacation is to keep your driving mindset sharp and focused.

Your extra focus is going to come in handy with the other vacation drivers on the road too.  Many of those drivers may be as fuzzy in their holiday driving modes as you…before you sharpened your focus.  

Other drivers are looking at the sights, distracted by backseat or front seat passengers, or maybe just trying to figure out how to turn left into that parking lot for the Gift Shop.  Your extra care and attention is going to come in handy to avoid mishaps that could be caused by other distracted vacation drivers.   And, be especially careful while driving through parking lots.  The distractions are probably at their highest point when a driver is quickly backing a car out of a parking spot and another driver is zipping through the parking lot.  Bang.

You’ll want to sharpen your vacation mind for the protection of your valuables in the car too.  How often do you pull your car into a beachside parking lot or a scenic overlook highway stop off, then jump out of your car and forget to lock it behind you?  Probably quite often.  After all, you’re on vacation.  

Your cares and worries were left at home.  But your valuables are still sitting on the front seat or in the trunk of your car.  And a thief only needs a quick moment or two to open an unlocked door, rummage around and grab and run away with your valuables.

Last but not least, be extra careful with your rental car while away on vacation.  When you pick up the car, temper your eagerness to zip away to enjoy the kick off of your holiday. While the Rental Car Attendant is inspecting the condition of the car before transferring possession, grab your smartphone and snap photos of the exterior of the car.

Make a note of your mileage to be sure it matches the rental paperwork, and check the gas gauge too.  Double check that doors and trunks lock properly and that any remote locking or alarm systems actually work.

This may sound like a lot of work to do while you’re on a vacation.  But a few minutes of careful attention and a sense of normal driving focus will actually help you to have an even better vacation experience. 

When was the last time you reviewed your auto insurance? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Do I Have to File a Claim?

FAQ: Do I Have to File a Claim?

We’ve all been there – you have a very minor issue with your home or car, and you think “I can handle this on my own… Do I have to tell my insurance company?” While it’s true that the answer depends on many factors (including your insurance provider and the terms of your coverage) here are some thoughts that can help you navigate this confusing situation:

Check your policy conditions –  there may be language within that requires you to submit a claim. If you fail to notify your insurance provider about any occurrence that may result in a claim, you could be in violation of your policy condition, which could result in forfeiture of coverage for the incident in the future. This means that if the situation turns into more of a mess at some point, you may be up a creek without a paddle!

Most people would agree that it’s better to submit a claim from the onset rather than risk the potential of having no help from your insurance provider if the problem gets more complicated.

As you know, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is always available if you need to make a claim on one of your Massachusetts insurance policies. There are many ways to contact us – call 617-298-0655 during office hours, call our 24/7 line at 617-322-5289, text 617-409-0329, or email us. We will always do everything in our power to ensure that you are satisfied with your insurance experience, so let us know if there is anything that we can do for you!