Sunday, January 23, 2011


FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida - Most insurance agents and brokers are either ignorant or guilty of withholding important information from their customers. This would go double for the insurance companies they represent except for the fact that they rarely come into contact with their policyholders until a claim arises. Neither of them are very anxious to explain the principle of Automobile Diminished Value even though that knowledge could ultimately benefit you, their insureds. They do acknowledge they do exist in tort for third party claims. From the simple standpoint of good customer service, this would seem to fly in the face of logical thinking. Good customer service is good business, right? Well, apparently, insurance companies and their agents disagree.

When you sat down with your insurance agent to discuss automobile insurance, there's a good chance you were never told anything about Automobile Diminished Value. Even though it costs the insuror absolutely nothing, such as the car rental and towing allowances on your policy would, this beneficial information is never discussed.

Automobile Diminished Value is the amount of value your car or truck loses after it has been fixed after an accident. Regardless of the quality of the repairs, your car has lost some of it's worth because of it's accident repair history, commonly known as a CARFAX. You can file an insurance claim for this difference in value - an Automobile Diminished Value claim - and you could be compensated as much as ten-thousand dollars ($10,000.00.) Information worth knowing, indeed.

There is no cost to your insurance company, as I previously mentioned, because you may only make a Diminished Value claim against an at-fault third party, the driver of the car that hit yours. If you drive into a tree, you can't sue your own insuror, at least not here in Florida, for diminution of value. When your car or truck has been damaged by another party's negligence, you may pursue an Automobile Diminished Value claim against their insurance company. If you present them with an accurate Automobile Diminished Value report from a licensed appraiser you stand a good chance of being fairly compensated.

So why don't insurance agents pass this valuable information on their policyholders seeing as it benefits you and costs them nothing? The answer may surprise you. The more slowly the general public is made aware of their right to pursue Automobile Diminished Value claims, the longer it will take for it to affect them directly. That's because tomorrow their insured might crash into one of those well-informed people's cars and an Automobile Diminished Value claim will be headed in their own direction. Insurance companies keeping their policy holders in the dark, with regard to Automobile Diminished Value, is good business.

Insurors have circled the wagons and, in this manner, protected themselves from Automobile Diminished Value claims by keeping the insurance-buying public generally uninformed. It isn't illegal nor does it violate any administrative statutes. If a company like State Farm, for example, directed each of it's insurance brokers to start advising policyholders of their right to pursue Automobile Diminished Value claims against third parties, they would represent the first wave of claimants. But eventually all insurance companies will recognize the need for transparency and State Farm, like other insurors before it, would have to start paying for Automobile Diminished Value. The more slowly people learn about Automobile Diminished Value, the better it is for the insurance industry.

So how is it that our company gets assigned so many Automobile Diminished Value cases? Attorneys, of course, are the quickest to recognize opportunities. Many of those who recommend The St. Lucie Appraisal Company have started advertising their expertise in handling Automobile Diminished Value claims. Many, but not most, as of this writing, auto body shops are aware of Automobile Diminished Value. Although it doesn't profit them, advising customers of their rights is good customer service. The burden of proving the reduction of value is on the plaintiff bringing the claim. There is no shortage of people who make it their business to stay informed.

Let me finish this article by pointing out that there are plenty of insurance agents who are both informed and informative. The number of those who are not, however, is much greater and that represents a disservice to Florida's insurance consumers. We are the ones who will be left holding the bag for Automobile Diminished Value come trade-in time.

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.