Recently the American Association For Justice published an article entitled Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse and Refuse . The article goes over methods insurance companies use to cheat consumers out of BILLIONS of dollars annually. You need to read this article to protect yourself from insurance companies and know when you are being mistreated in the claims handling process.

The article does not delve into one of the most common ways consumers are ripped off from insurance companies. What is this? Let me tell you.

I routinely have clients that say that they were treated "fairly" by the adjuster because their "car was fixed." Actually this is one of the biggest ripoffs and one of the first ways you can tell the insurance adjuster is not your friend. You see the insurance company failed to pay you for the depreciation on your car.

What is depreciation? It is the fact that you had a car that was unwrecked, that is now wrecked, and a wrecked car is not worth as much as an unwrecked car even if perfectly repaired. When you go to sell your car no one will take the risk of buying a wrecked car if they can by a similar car that was never wrecked. The only way to entice a buyer to purchase the wrecked car is to lower the price below that of an unwrecked car. In Tennessee you have been able to recover the depreciation of your wrecked car for decades, at least since 1985. THE INSURANCE COMPANY ADJUSTERS KNOW THIS IS THE LAW. DID THEY TELL YOU?

The leading case in Tennessee on depreciation is: Senter v. TN Farmers Mutual Ins. Co., 702 S.W.2d 175 (TN. App. 1985) The case states that the value of a car after a wreck is based on three factors: 1) function 2) appearance and 3) value. Function and appearance may be determined by the cost of repairs. Value, however, must also consider the fact that a car that is wrecked is not worth as much as a car that has never been wrecked. (The case suggests a 15% decrease in value from book value but the actual amount will vary from car to car and there is no set value.)