Sunday, July 31, 2011


TAMPA, Florida - Advertisements can be misleading as we all know, and they include ads we find on the internet regarding Auto Diminished Value appraisals and Diminished Value experts. The allure of  free advertising enables companies to throw all sorts of things at us. In every state, we have more than our share of scammers and charlatans. Lately a number of web sites, blogs, Craigslist-type ads, etc. are describing themselves as "advocates."

The general perception is that an advocate represents us free or for a minimal charge. It is a resource to advance a social or public policy initiative and gives a voice to  citizen interests. A consumer advocate seeks to remedy injustices in the market place, also to teach consumers to stand up for themselves. Funded by governments or privately, these people and organizations are who we turn to for help, especially when the waters get murky - as is definitely the case with Automobile Diminished Value.

At St. Lucie Appraisal, we are advocates for fair and equitable treatment in Automobile Diminished Value cases. Our compensation is both financially and professionally rewarding. If a company is masquerading as something else, either the service stinks or their fees are out of line, sometimes both. These less-than-forthcoming advertising techniques occur mainly with attorneys but other types of businesses do it too.

Our Auto Diminished Value reports are available to anyone in any state whose late model car or truck was damaged through someone's negligence, then repaired. The loss of trade-in value - even though you may not actually be trading the car in - is known as diminished value. Insurance companies don't like paying for it but it's the law and you are entitled to compensation.

How much compensation? That depends on many factors, all of which weigh into the insurance adjuster's decision about how much to pay you. Each insurance company has their own formula that takes into consideration things like whether the frame or unibody was damaged, whether the vehicle was towed, year, make and model of car, etc. Unfortunately, low-ball methods based on formulas such as Georgia's Rule 17C have demonstrably proven their inadequacy. Also unfortunate is the fact that most Auto Diminished Value Appraisal firms take a similar easy way out by adopting their own formulas for determining diminished value. So how does St. Lucie Appraisal determine the amount of diminished value?

Only one indicator can be considered relevant - how much less the dealer will offer for your trade-in as a result of a dirty CARFAX report. The only reliable method for determining diminished value is to call the dealers for their opinions. Using a formula saves a lot of time but as many people are learning, insurance companies show little respect for Automobile Diminished Value reports done in this manner - even by advocates. It is formula vs. formula.

To cite an example, whereas a repaired unibody can count heavily toward how much net worth is lost from a Chevrolet or Toyota - the resultant diminished value can be as much as 50% of the trade-in value - any Porsche dealer will tell you that, even without unibody damage, buyers avoid repaired Porsches like the plague. An insurance adjuster will point to the absence of frame and unibody repairs when he or she offers you a fraction of what your claim is worth. It is unfortunate that Automobile Diminished Value advocates utilizing formulas will probably agree, leaving consumers as the ultimate losers. You'll collect something, but it won't be enough. Your car is now under water.

Insurance companies can not so readily dismiss an Automobile Diminished Value report prepared by St. Lucie Appraisal. We work hard to come up with accurate numbers. Our reports, compiled through exhaustive telephone research, reflect the accuracy of the used car market. They also force insurance companies to either do the same research or explain why they refused to do so.

Is St. Lucie Appraisal  the best Automobile Diminished Value appraiser in the business? Most insurors will agree that we are the gold standard. We are licensed as adjusters and appraisers by the State of Florida Department of Consumer Affairs giving us credibility as experts in every state.

Florida Statute 626.855 defines a “RESIDENT INDEPENDENT ADJUSTER” as any person who is self-employed or is associated with or employed by an independent adjusting firm or other independent adjuster, and who undertakes to ascertain and determine to amount of the claim, loss, or damage payable under an insurance contract or undertakes to effect settlement of such claim, loss or damage.
And when it comes to your right to fair compensation for Automobile Diminished Value, we are your biggest advocates - even if we don't come right out and say so.

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.