Pinnacle Auto Appraisers' Blog

Keeping the auto appraising industry up to date with important auto industry and appraiser information.

Diminished Value - Before and After Repair

vehicle salvage repairs pinnacle auto appraiser appraisal dimished valueKnowing what your car's worth both before and after an accident is very important. This helps the insurance companies decide how much to pay you for damages or whether to total it. Your vehicle will hold diminished value after the accident since it's no longer worth as much.

Determining Value

When you're involved in an automobile accident one of the things you will discover is that what you think your car's worth and what the insurance company tells you it's worth are often two entirely different things.

When your car is totaled the insurance company doesn't have to pay what it would cost you to pay off or replace the car. They'll pay the actual cash value of the car. The actual cash value can be calculated a number of ways and the process used can differ from one insurance company to the next. Some of the things taken into consideration are:

  • Retail value for your type of car in its pre-accident condition. Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book are commonly used to find the retail value of a car.
  • Price paid for the vehicle plus documented improvements or repairs made to it.
  • Damage to the car that happened before the accident.

When your insurance company comes up with a figure, don't be afraid to ask them to explain how they arrived at it.

Diminished Value

After an accident, the insurance company is obligated to return the car to its pre-accident state. This is nearly impossible. The very act of being in an accident automatically reduces the value of the car and makes it more difficult to sell. The quality of the repair, however, has a great impact on the vehicle's future value.

Some insurance companies require you to go to specific car repair shops or to the dealer or they won't pay. Also, be sure to ask if insurance covers new parts or if the repair shop must use secondhand parts to save money. This could hurt you later on if you try to sell the car or try to get additional insurance on it.

People aren't as likely to purchase cars that have been in accidents due to the potential for future problems. There are now companies such as Carfax where people can obtain information about used cars using the VIN or Vehicle Identification Number to trace previous insurance claims. Many states also require owners to disclose the accident history to potential buyers.

Even though this psychological impact may leave a lasting impression on future buyers of the car, insurance companies only pay for its physical conditions. However, it may be worthwhile when placing a claim to also ask for compensation to covering possible diminished value when trying to sell the car.

Questions For Your Attorney

  • My insurance company changed the way they determine the value of my vehicle. Can they do that? Can I hold them to the way they previously determined the value of my car?
  • How can I recover from my insurance company the possible diminished value of my car if I decide to sell my car in the future?


Pinnacle Auto Appraisers is here to help...we offer car and vehicle appraisal services for all 50 states: Denver, Colorado, Miami, Florida, Houston, Texas, Seattle, Washington, Anchorage, Alaska: we look forward to your call:



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How Car Appraisals Work...

appraisal" Dealers will always try to pay you the least possible for your car when you trade-in. Understanding how a dealer car appraisal works will help insure you get the most money for you trade in. 20-year industry veteran auto broker Isaac Bouchard explains how dealers perform a car appraisal, so you can best prepare your vehicle and counter their arguments."

 We look for quite a few things when appraising your are some to just name a few:


"Rust, Leaks, Fluid Condition, Body Repair, Body Damage, Wavey Paint, Straight Body, Solid Floor Pans, Restoration Quality, Quality of Paint, Modifications, Aftermarket  Accessories, Wheel Condition, Tire Condition, Driveability, Test Drive, Transmission Shift, Oil Condition, Inspection, Pre-Purchase Inspection, Classic Vehicle Inspection, Classic Car Inspection, Lease Turn-In Inspection."


Pinnacle takes the time with your car or sport vehicle to make sure things are in order.

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Florida Diminished Value Law - Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville

There are two primary cases that address the notion of damages in the diminished value context.

The seminal case is that of Siegle vs. Progressive Consumer’s Insurance Company, 819 So.2d 732 (Florida 2002). The Siegle case, which was heard in front of the Supreme Court, stands for the proposition that although Florida does not recognize first party diminished value claims (meaning claims against ones own insurance company) Florida does recognize third party claims whereby a vehicle owner may seek recovery against an at-fault driver for their negligence in causing the loss of value.

In McHale vs. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. 409 So.2d 238 (1982), the Court determined that the correct measure of damages is the cost of repairplus any reduction in the value of the vehicle. The Court did put the burden of proving the reduction in value on the Plaintiff who is bringing the claim.

In Florida, the statute of limitations for collecting diminished value is three years and is measured from the date of accident.  It is important to keep in mind that the statue of limitations is the final date at which a legal proceeding may be brought against the insurance company.  What this means is that even if you are beyond the statue of limitations it still may be worth attempting to negotiate a settlement with the at fault party’s insurance company. Although your claim may fall outside of the state of limitations you have nothing to lose because the worst they can do is tell you “no”.

Keep in mind, in Florida (and virtually every other state) diminished value is only recoverable from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, not the vehicle owner’s own insurance company. Having said that, it is possible to recover diminished value from the vehicle owner’s uninsured motorist’s policy if it could be properly recovered from the at fault party had they had insurance.

Despite the insurance companies argument to the contrary, third party diminished value claims are absolutely compensable in the state of Florida. It is important to note that the Florida Supreme Court has adopted the measure of damages for diminished value in their standard jury instructions. Most lawyers will tell you that in the absence of clear case law, jury instructions are extremely helpful in determining how courts rule on various matters. The fact that insurance companies still universally deny diminution in value claims in light of this and other corroborating evidence of its existence is absolutely astounding.


Tampa Auto Appraiser, Orlando Auto Appraiser, Miami Auto Appraiser, Jacksonville Auto Appraiser

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We see a lot of cars that need TLC...and might have seen a shop or two...or three...or more...

We're always seeing these types of cars in our appraisals and we thought this article from AOL hit on a few trends we see...lots of vehicles needing repairs, car in disrepair, and mechanic services.

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Did you know that you can claim Diminished Value as a tax deduction?

Diminished Value - Tax Deductible? 

At Pinnacle Auto Appraisers we can assist you in determining the amount of loss you can claim as an itemized tax deduction on Form 4684 of your Federal tax return. The part of the diminished value not reimbursed by the insurance company is tax deductible; and in many cases the cost of the appraisal can also be claimed as an itemized deduction as well.  Contact Pinnacle Auto Appraisers today for more information!

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Free Review:

If you are looking to increase your insurance coverage on your vehicle, the insurance company may require you to obtain a certified auto appraisal.   If you have a custom car, truck or motorcycle, the insurance company won't pay you more than book value. Get a stated value appraisal to cover money spent customizing your vehicle.  Have a collector or exotic vehicle?  Book value does not justify the vehicle value  In case you are in an accident, have a certified auto appraisal done.  Contact us today for a Free Evaluation!

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Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Will Professionally Evaluate Your Vehicle!


Pinnacle Auto Appraisers prides itself on quickly handling large amounts of vehicles. We routinely handle fleets for: vans, trucking, limousine, shuttle, buses, SUV, corporate, taxi, dealership, clubs, rental, and delivery companies. We handle large national chains, small family businesses, and car club appraisal(s).

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Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Offers Quality Fleet Appraisals!


If you were involved in an accident and the insurance company deemed your vehicle a total loss, we can help.  If you don't agree with the insurance company's offer, you have the right to hire an independent certified appraiser to determine the actual cash value of your vehicle.  Our certified appraiser will go to the vehicle location, conduct the inspection and complete a certified total loss appraisal on your vehicle.  Total loss claims do require a negotiation phase which we will take care of for you at no additional charge!

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Let Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Help After A Crash!


Our Appraisers are repair shop and car club fanatics! We enjoy when local and national clubs invite us out to their local gatherings. We offer an appraisal discount that lasted all month. We love everything that has an engine and drives on the road. We do our best to help everyone in need of an appraisal!

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Pinnacle Auto Appraisers - We Value Car Clubs and Repair Shops!