Saturday, January 4, 2014



FORT PIERCE, Florida - It is the responsibility of the auto owner filing  a diminished value claim to determine which type of appraiser to hire to prepare their report. Due diligence will reveal a number of different methods employed by independent appraisers to arrive at their conclusions. Briefly, there are just three of them - an appraisal in which a formula is used to arrive at a conclusion, the type of appraisal that relies on automobile auction results and the appraisal in which actual dealer quotes make up the body of proof that shows exactly how much value a car has lost as a result of having undergone collision repairs.  Finding the appraisal firm that will be successful in proving that the car has, indeed, suffered a diminution of value requires more than just opening a local telephone directory. Insurance companies, like any other business, can range from responsible to unscrupulous and even predatory. Should an auto owner become a victim of unfair claim practices, a logical progression might place them in front of a magistrate or mediator. Their appraiser should be able to present himself as an expert witness and his diminished value report must stand up to any type of scrutiny.

The methodology used by The St. Lucie Appraisal Company goes beyond being generally accepted. It is, in fact, precise because we obtain six dealer quotes that are based on the specific vehicle involved and the exact nature and amount of repairs that were done. Should an auto owner need to hire an attorney, that person will scrutinize the diminished value appraisal carefully. A good lawyer will know whether or not the report is acceptable proof of actual diminished value. Will an appraisal that relies on a formula to determine the vehicle's loss of value make sense to a judge? Does the sort of appraisal that relies on auction results of similar types of cars serve as adequate evidence? The independent appraiser who has taken the time to describe the exact car in question to six dealers and asked them how the specific repairs that were done impacts the car's fair market value provides common sense answers in proving that actual diminished value has occurred.

Looking at automobile diminished value from an insurance company's point of view is helpful in deciding which type of appraisal suits your needs. Independent appraisals based on formulas tend to be less expensive but insurers have their own formulas which will likely be at odds with yours. The variety of appraisals based on generic auto auction results, which, for some reason tend to be the most expensive, are routinely rejected by insurance adjusters as being non-specific. But before pronouncing The St. Lucie Appraisal's method of providing six dealer quotes the gold standard in diminished value reports, even our appraisals have been questioned by insurance companies.  The following quote comes from an insurance company adjuster. "Car dealers have an institutional conflict of interest that hardly should make them the arbiter of whether a vehicle loses value if it is involved in an accident. It is in a car dealer’s interest to pay as little as possible for vehicles."  It had to be pointed out to the adjuster that none of the six dealers, in this case, Honda dealers, were under the impression that they would be buying the vehicle in question nor would they be taking it in trade. Their opinions were completely unbiased and that detail served to resolve the conflict. If a vehicle owner believes that their claim has been wrongfully denied or rejected, they may have the matter reviewed by their Department of Insurance. Automobile diminished value after collision repairs is recognizable but that doesn't  stop insurance companies from saying that is doesn't exist. When all is said and done, the burden of proof lies with the auto owner so it is critical to provide irrefutable evidence that there is a discernible difference in how much a used car buyer will pay for a previously repaired car versus one never having been involved in a collision.

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


Automobile Diminished Value Appraisals nationwide including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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.