What does an automobile diminished value appraiser do?

Dec 6, 2023

Diminished value refers to the difference in the market value of a vehicle before a wreck versus what it’s worth after a wreck – because being in an accident almost always devalues a car significantly. A diminished value appraiser provides a report evaluating the market value of a car that has been wrecked compared to what it was worth before the accident. 

Diminished value is only applicable in cases where the accident was the fault of the other driver, and DV must be filed with his or her insurance company, not yours.

How Does Auto Appraisal Work?

In addition to a vehicle’s current state, diminished value appraisers take into account the car’s or truck’s history and current auto industry trends in order to come up with a more accurate figure than free online calculators can. DV calculators are notorious for undervaluing vehicles.

Appraisers have a number of tools at their disposal. They use physical tools, such as a hail, or zebra, board to show dents and dings and get pictures; a paint meter to measure thickness of paint on metal; a Bondo, or filler, detector; a temperature gun to make sure a vehicle’s air conditioner and heater are in working order; a plug-in scanner to check codes to see if anything computer-related is not functioning; and a dent stick to measure the height and full extent of body damage.

This being the 21st century, there is also a world of software and online sites available to appraisers. There are VIN scanners, auto auction run lists, vehicle histories, market analytics, and more.

Experienced appraisers bring to the table years of knowledge about car markets and industry trends. Even with all the high tech tools at their disposal, there’s no better tool than knowledge and experience gained over decades of working with automobiles.

Appraisers Leave No Stone Unturned

Appraisers look at title and registration and usually the VIN number. By interviewing the vehicle’s owner or consulting documents provided, appraisers can get an idea of the maintenance history. Conscientious maintenance adds value.

Appraisers look inside, outside, under the hood and under the frame in order to come to an accurate car valuation. They check for leaks and test all equipment, such as lights, sunroof, and windows, to make certain everything is working properly.

A test drive may be conducted to monitor the vehicle’s performance at speed and to test the brakes. This also gives the appraiser a chance to listen to the engine and to see how the car handles.

A comprehensive diminished value report will take all of the above into account.

More to Auto Appraisal Than Diminished Value

Auto appraisers do more than provide diminished value reports. There are many reasons why people might need a highly accurate car valuation.

 If you are buying or selling a car and want to be sure you are getting a fair deal, an auto appraiser can tell you exactly what the vehicle is worth on the market. If you need to know the value of a vehicle in order to settle an estate, divorce, or bankruptcy, expert appraisers can provide that figure. In cases where Lemon Law comes into play,  auto appraisals – or the expert witness of an appraiser – can win the day.

Car appraisals performed by unbiased experts provide a watertight value amount. Insurance companies are more likely to take a professional appraisal seriously, and this can often result in a higher settlement than they might otherwise be willing to pay out.

Auto Mediator enjoys a great reputation for accurate vehicle appraisal as well as for skilled mediation and expert witness. WIth 20 years in the business, their experience makes them among the most trusted appraisers in the country.