Diminished Value Methodology

How is diminished Value calculated? The St. Lucie Appraisal Company’s service AUTODIMINISHEDVALUE.COM is just one of many independent appraisers that provide automobile diminished value reports for consumers. Each company has its own method of calculating the amount of value a car has lost after undergoing collision repairs. This article will examine each method and furnish explanations on each of them. It is our opinion, of course, that our methodology for calculation a vehicle’s diminished value after accident repairs is far superior to others being used. After reading the information that we have provided, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed with your automobile diminished value claim. How is diminished value calculated?


Our automobile diminished value reports are ultimately designed to be read and decided upon by a magistrate or mediator. In the past, our reports have proved conclusive in winning cases for our customers because they were based on real-world data.

There are six commonly-used methods by which diminished value is calculated.

1) A letter from a dealership declaring that the vehicle has lost value as a result of undergoing collision repairs. A typical insurance company response: “A dealership is not a disinterested third party and has a financial interest in the acquisition price of a trade in vehicle. Their business model is to buy low and sell high. An offer of trade is simply the starting point of a negotiation and does not, in and of itself, establish any specific loss in value. It is our position that the documentation presented by you does not provide any underlying market data in support of the post-accident value of your vehicle.” This approach generally costs you nothing. em>

2) Figures made up out of thin air, usually buttressed by an appraiser’s assertion that they are based on his or her years of experience in the field either buying, selling or rebuilding cars. The cost for this type of report should be negligible.

3) By using formulas or algorithms such as Rule 17-C which assigns modifiers (points) to things such as whether frame/unibody damage or air bag deployment occurred or whether adjacent panels needed to be painted. These types of reports are subjective, simplistic and abstract. In our experience, judges who have attempted to decipher this type of appraisal understood them even less after having them explained by insurance company attorneys than when they first read them. There is a wide range of fees being charged by independent appraisers, from around $250.00 to more than $800.00. The upper end of the scale usually includes the appraiser’s physical inspection of the vehicle. In cases of inherent diminished value, where a car is worth less simply because it now has a bad Carfax, an inspection of the repaired car serves no purpose.

4) The use of automobile auction results. The data will show a number of similar vehicles that were sold at auction, some that were never damaged and others with bad Carfaxes. You can see that the bad Carfax vehicles sold for less but the auction printouts don’t show the mileage, options, colors, etc. of each vehicle nor do they list the extent of the damages that were repaired. Plus, this is not the market you are in.

5) Improper use of Carfax.com retail ads. An appraisal showing random screen shots of similar cars for sale, some of which were previously repaired, to make comparisons. Typically, very little information about the cars such as mileage, condition, how much was paid for the car and, most importantly, a description of the repairs that were done is provided. This method also invites “cherry-picking” of higher and lower-priced cars. Most importantly, asking prices aren’t a true measuring stick because nothing prevents dealers for asking unreasonably high prices for previously repaired vehicles.

6) A diminished value report that is prepared by The St. Lucie Appraisal Company takes into consideration all of the specifics of your car as well as the exact amount and nature of the damages that were repaired. It is as comprehensive a diminished value report as you can find. Our report contains our own data-based opinion. Then we confirm our findings by querying six sales managers at recognized dealerships in your area. Each dealership, their contact information and the name of the manager is all contained within our appraisal. The last paragraph of our report addresses insurance company concerns regarding the use of dealer quotes. It reads: “All of the dealers queried were informed that the subject vehicle was not available for purchase or trade, therefore none of the dealers queried had any vested interest in the subject vehicle.” This method represents unbiased, irrefutable proof of the occurrence and amount of diminished value. Our fee for a diminished value appraisal is $275.00 for most cars. Diminished value appraisals for exotics such as Ferrari, Tesla and Bentleys cost $350.00. Unless there is a problem, we rarely hear back from our customers – a sign that they are receiving fair settlements from insurers.

Car owners count on their service providers to follow up promptly when questions or other issues arise. It is difficult to know which independent appraisers can be relied upon as expert witnesses or simply for advice as the claim progresses. Our concern is for those who have placed their trust in us – our customers. While we feel that our methodology is the best in the business, our customer service is even better.



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