When your automobile has been in an accident and repaired, the fair market value is reduced substantially when you trade it or sell it. When a total loss occurs, insurance companies often act very aggressively by not adequately compensating drivers for their automobiles. Insurance companies typically hire “independent appraisers” who will lowball the fair market value of the damaged vehicle when it is determined to be a total loss. These so-called “independent appraisers” rely on insurance companies for repeat business and if their appraisals were truly fair, they would not be used again by the insurance industry.
Many insurance companies overlook all of the damage, suggest some or part of the damage occurred prior to the accident, or suggest the damage is not causally related to the accident.
Our defense to these predatory tactics by insurance companies is to utilize appraisers who can accomplish two worthy objectives when inspecting vehicles that have been repaired and returned to their owners.
First, this appraiser will make sure that the vehicle has been fully and properly repaired. Often, clients do not recognize that a trunk hood is not properly aligned even though it closes. This problem will eventually cause leaks in the trunk. Other examples are that the wrong part is often used or parts are not secured. For instance, the proper torque may not have been applied, leading to a wheel coming off the car.
Often we bring these issues to the attention of our clients, of the insurance company responsible for the repairs, and of the repair facility. Usually correction to the repair is obtained.
The second issue is the diminution of value– which can be less than a thousand dollars but, more often, many thousands of dollars. The cost of the diminution of value appraisal is approximately $325 and is a good investment–resulting in proper repairs of automobiles and in adequately documenting the loss due to diminished value.