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Diminished Value – Accelerated Depreciation following Motor Vehicle Collision

When you are involved in a motor vehicle collision and the damage to your vehicle exceeds $2,000, you must declare this on the re-sale or trade-in of that vehicle, whether selling privately or to a dealer. The issue does not end there, however. Commonly the value of that vehicle will be diminished and that loss will in turn be reflected by a lower sale amount you get on the re-sale or trade-in of that vehicle. This is often referred to as ‘accelerated depreciation’ or ‘diminished value’. The CBC recently commented on this issue.

Depending on the facts, this is a loss that should also be recoverable though the insurance policy does not provide for this. The insurance companies say this is simply an indirect loss and not compensable. That does not end the issue – this amount can be claimed and in fact added to one’s overall claim for losses arising from a motor vehicle collision. And further, our Court of Appeal of B.C. has noted it is not necessary to first sell the vehicle in order to succeed in a court claim for compensation arising from the now diminished value of your vehicle following a collision.

A recent example of the court awarding such a loss is: Chiang v. Kumar and Sharma, 2018 BCPC 127


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