You want to hire The St. Lucie Appraisal Company to prepare a diminished value appraisal for your repaired vehicle. The reason? Because it’s widely known that our company is the only independent appraiser in the country that takes the time and trouble to obtain six unbiased, verifiable dealer quotes to prove the amount of value your car has lost. The bad Carfax or other vehicle history report shows that your automobile or truck has been repaired. It may even show that it sustained frame damage or had the air bags deploy. This is known as “Inherent Diminished Value,” a stigma loss for which you will receive compensation. Being that your vehicle has been properly repaired, there is no reason for the diminished value appraiser to make a physical inspection. After all, you aren’t claiming a loss in value for any repair-related issue. A bad Carfax = Diminished Value, it’s as simple as that. So why has the insurance company insisted on your arranging for a diminished value inspection?
Our company has prepared hundreds of automobile diminished value appraisals in all 50 states. As noted in the above paragraph, The St. Lucie Appraisal Company is the only independent appraisal firm willing to call dealers until we obtain six opinions of how much less your car is worth. It’s hard work but worth it because our reports can’t be questioned; they have been proven in court to be evidence of diminished value. Other methods such as the use of formulas, algorithms and auction results, are not definitive confirmation.
It is unusual for an insurance company to require a physical inspection in an inherent diminished value claim. State Farm Insurance Company is, or was, requiring claimants in California making inherent diminished value claims to have their repaired cars inspected by appraisers. Why? Three reasons come to mind. First, by compelling car owners to use local appraisers, they prevent claimants from obtaining expert appraisals that come from companies like St. Lucie Appraisal. If local independent appraisers use faulty methods that don’t conclusively prove diminished value, State Farm is seemingly off the hook. Second, claimants who live in rural areas may not find any local independent appraisal companies that handle diminished value. Having to drive hundreds of miles for an appraisal acts as an effective deterrent. Third, independent appraisers that perform physical inspections for diminished value appraisals charge prohibitive fees.
If a vehicle owner is caught in a situation like this, keep in mind that the insurance company has put itself in a bad position, one in which claimants can take full advantage. By denying a claimant the right to hire St. Lucie Appraisal or other expert independent appraiser, the insurer has put itself in a box. If they refuse to pay the claim for lack of evidence of diminished value due to poor methodology, the car owner can and should appeal their decision. In legal terms it is known as “ineffective counsel” but in this case the claimant was constrained from obtaining the best representation available.
We are proud of the job we do and hope to gain your business. However, if you find yourself caught in this position, inform the insurance company that you prefer to hire St. Lucie Appraisal, then proceed according to the guidelines they have dictated. At least you now know that you are on solid ground when it comes time to appeal an unfair decision by the insurance company.
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