Sunday, October 3, 2010


Automobile Diminished Value in Florida

PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida - A few weeks ago I decided to pay my auto insurance policy in person. As an appraiser, you can never expose your business to agents and brokers enough. Over the years, my broker has sent numerous customers my way so a bag of Hershey's Miniatures was the least I could bring along as a gift. Most of their referrals involved custom cars, collectibles and other personal property throughout Florida. Stated Value Appraisals make up a large portion of our business but when I mentioned another service we provide for auto property damage victims, "Diminished Value Appraisals," it drew little more response than a glassy-eyed stare. None of the agents in the office, as a matter of fact, had any idea of what Diminished Value was.

Since you clicked on this article about Diminished Value I'm safe in assuming you know what it is. To recap for the uninitiated (ie: other insurance agencies) when your newer vehicle is damaged as a result of a third-party's negligence, in addition to expecting them to repair your car, you are also entitled to recover the loss of trade-in value you'll encounter at the dealership. This can amount to $5,000 or more yet the majority of people out there are unaware of this form of compensation. Two or three years down the road when you go to sell or trade your car in will be too late. You need to file your DV claim right away.

In order to further illuminate the process I'll describe what we do in relation to what you'll need to do.

Your car has been damaged by a liable third-party. Regardless of whether your vehicle's repairs are handled by your collision carrier or that third-party's insuror, you will make a Diminished Value claim against their insurance company. Their insurance adjuster will require that you present them with a Diminished Value Appraisal which is what we do. There are varying approaches that different appraisal companies use to arrive at what percentage of the car's value has been affected. Most of the national firms use formulas. The problem with that approach is that insurors also have formulas. These, you can be assured, provide the lowest possible return in all cases. So formulaic approaches are challengeable. St. Lucie Appraisal makes multiple queries to dealers, used-car vendors, wholesalers and private sellers. This is time-consuming but provides the highest return by far. Another plus this method offers is that, in order to dispute our figures, they will also have to take the time to make numerous calls. In most cases, as long as your Diminished Value Appraisal isn't outlandish and is buttressed by multiple sources, you'll receive full restitution.

The cost of a Diminished Value Appraisal is $225.00 which you can remit through  to our email address, . For payment by check our mailing address is P.O. Box 2700, Fort Pierce, FL 34954. You may also make a credit card payment over the phone. We'll also be glad to answer any questions you may have. Your appraisal takes less than a week to complete. No inspection of the vehicle is necessary. All you'll need to provide is the Year, Make, Model and Options, a copy of the repair estimate and any photos you may wish to include. Email or mail all pertinent data to the same addresses.

Should you feel that the insuror is being unfair, you may report their behavior or request mediation assistance at In some cases you might be well served by hiring an attorney to represent you. As with the cost of our appraisal, your legal fee may be tax-deductible. Petitioning the court or arbitrator to compel the insuror to reimburse your legal fees is another possibility.

Perhaps your insurance agent, auto body shop or attorney will forget to advise you of your right to seek compensation from at-fault insurance companies for Diminished Value in Florida. Don't worry, we remembered.

The St. Lucie Appraisal Company
P.O. Box 2700
Fort Pierce, FL 34954
Phone: (772) 359-4300
Fax: (772) 466-8400


paypal payment button The fee for an Automobile Diminished Value Report is $275.00. You may also make your Credit Card Payment by telephone, call 772-359-4300. Credit card payments can be made on the PayPal page. Click on "Don't have a PayPal account?" to be taken to the secure credit card payment page. 

After making your secure payment please email the body shop estimate or the insurance company appraisal to or FAX to 772-466-8400.