Friday, May 23, 2014



FORT PIERCE, Florida - Many car owners making diminished value claims against insurance companies obtain a quote, or opinion, from their new car dealer that explains how much less their car is now worth because of having undergone repairs. In theory this appears to make sense. The St. Lucie Appraisal Company, in fact, obtains six dealer quotes to form the basis for our automobile diminished value reports. So why is this article going to warn you of the perils of taking this approach? It would seem that by doing so we are essentially discrediting our own methodology.

Insurance companies aren't exactly known for being generous and when it comes to paying for diminished value losses, they can get downright nasty. It is only since the advent of CARFAX and other vehicle history reports that both dealers and the general public alike can know what to expect when purchasing a used car. And, of course, as we all know, cars that went through collision repairs are less desirable to used car buyers than cars that were never wrecked.

Now that people are becoming aware of their right to file claims for the decrease in the value of their cars after collision repairs - known as inherent diminished value- they are setting out to prove the validity of their claims in different ways. The most common is to hire an independent appraiser that specializes in diminished value. These appraisers have different methods for arriving at their conclusions. And insurance companies, naturally, have found ways to discredit most of them. The first method is to use a formula which takes into consideration the nature and extent of the damages. This approach is confusing as well as arbitrary. One such formula is known as Rule 17-C which has become notorious for its inadequacies. Yet both independent appraisers and insurance companies alike continue to use them. The reasons are twofold, one - they can be tailored to meet the needs of whomever is using the formula - hence, the discrepancies between your appraiser's and the insurance company's conclusion and two - because they are easy. Preparing a diminished value report using a formula takes less than five minutes. The second method is to access automobile auction results that compare cars that were sold that had previous repairs with those that did not. Insurers have an easy time discrediting these reports because, while they do specify comparable year, make and model vehicles, they do not meet the criteria of describing your exact car with its mileage, options, etc. nor do they address the specific damage that was done to your car. 

The third method is obtaining actual dealer quotes that reflect how much less the pre-owned managers will pay for a trade-in that's got a bad CARFAX. Many car owners are naive enough to think that an insurance company will pay them $5,000.000, for instance, simply because that's how much less their dealer quoted them on a trade. There are two flaws in this approach. The first one actually does make sense - that a dealer might inflate the amount of diminished value in order to purchase your car for a cheaper price. Insurance companies use this argument when they deny your claim and I, for one, can't disagree with the logic. The other drawback to simply presenting a dealer quote as proof of the diminished value alerts the insurer to the fact that you are a cheapskate. If you aren't willing to pay for an independent appraisal, they surmise, then there's little chance that you'll actually ante up for an attorney when push comes to shove. The fear factor is no longer there.

So why is The St. Lucie Appraisal Company so successful at obtaining fair settlements for its customers by using new car dealer quotes as the basis for our reports? The reason is that the arguments and lack of respect that the insurers exhibited as detailed in the preceding paragraph no longer exist. The fact that you undertook the expense of having a professional report done - and not one of those $39.00 specials - has given your claim credibility. And the fact that none of the six dealers providing quotes has any vested interest in the subject vehicle invalidates any and all objections to using this methodology. It takes a great deal of time to obtain diminished value information in this manner but when the results are fair settlements for our customers, we feel that we've achieved our goals. I'm happy to be able to say that we've got the outstanding reviews to prove it!                               

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


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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.


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Keywords for this article: automobile, car, diminished value, dealer, quote, claim, insurance, ST. LUCIE APPRAISAL