Classic Car Appraisals

Classic Car Appraisals – from Actual Cash Value Appraisals to Diminished Value Appraisals

There is only one way to protect your investment – get it professionally appraised! Classic Auto Appraisers is the industry leader in classic car appraisals.

Actual Cash Value Appraisals

The most common appraisals we provide are Actual Cash Value appraisals, also known as Fair Market Value or Replacement Cost Appraisals.

Appraising a classic or customized vehicle is a very intensive process.  It involves deciphering, documenting and photographing every facet of the vehicle.  We establish an overall condition and check for originality.   We confirm and document the known history of the vehicle, its prior owners and notoriety, including any accolades the car has earned.

Items noted in our appraisal include:

  • VIN numbers
  • production codes
  • production numbers
  • model codes
  • paint codes
  • engine numbers
  • engine codes
  • door tags
  • fender tags
  • chronological listing of all custom components and modifications
  • all other supporting documentation

A custom vehicle appraisal must also take into account exactly who performed the work on the vehicle. These automobiles are rolling pieces of art and their value can depend largely on the various artists that are commissioned to work on them.  As with any vehicle, the accolades that vehicle has earned — awards, trophies, magazine covers and features, promotional advertising, television exposure — can greatly affect its value. Classic Auto Appraisers are experts at assessing the values of specialty vehicles.

Actual Cash Value appraisals must take into account the cost of finding a suitable donor vehicle and accurately estimating the cost of exactly duplicating that customized vehicle if it were subject to a total loss. In addition, a typical custom vehicle appraisal will include anywhere from 30-60 digital photos highlighting all of the major features of that automobile.

Diminished Value Appraisals

Diminished value appraisals have become very common in recent years. They usually apply to late model, luxury automobiles.

The typical scenario is this: through no fault of the owner a 2006 Lexus GS 430 was recently in a fairly serious accident that resulted in over $20,000.00 in repairs. According to the work order repair sheet made by the body shop, it required 8 hours on a frame machine in order to straighten it out.

We live in a very consumer-conscious, financially-competitive world! In order for the insurance company to get your business, they have to keep their rates as cheap as possible. In order for the body shops to get the insurance company’s repair work, they must keep their rates low. The end result is that many cars that should perhaps be ‘a total loss’ are instead repaired.

There is another hidden cost that the insurance companies will forget to tell you about and this is called DIMINISHED VALUE. When your car is in an accident, of any size, the accident is reported to services like Carfax.  When you go to turn it in at the end of a lease, try to sell it or trade it in, the dealer is going to ask about accidents and check the reporting systems (you may even have to sign a statement of facts). When the accident is revealed, the value for your car is reduced by up to 50%, and if your car is leased, you may owe some or all of this amount to the leasing company.

A car dealer does not want to resell a car with frame damage. He must disclose it to the next buyer and the dealer cannot sell it under one of those Premium Guaranteed Used Car programs that have become popular. Safety, the integrity of the workmanship, how it will drive, rattles and strange noises, future unknown mechanical problems are all factors that can affect the dealer’s reputation and all dealers depend on their reputations for their livelihoods.

Likewise, if the owner of that Lexus tries to sell it to a private party, the information must be disclosed. If you were a potential buyer and two identical cars were advertised for about the same price, one of which had been in a serious accident, which one would you buy?

Prior to Loss Appraisals

Unfortunately, an all too common request. Imagine if you will hypothetical situation with which an owner of a 1969 Pontiac Firebird is involved in a traffic accident while driving his classic. The adjuster for the responsible insurance company decides “That Prior to the Loss” or, in plain language immediately before the accident this ’69 Firebird was worth $18,000.00. That same adjuster has estimated that the cost to repair the damaged Firebird is $13,000.00.

The insurance adjuster will then declare this classic a “Total Loss” and inform the owner of the damaged Firebird that a check for $18,000.00 is on the way. Suddenly the owner of this ’69 Firebird is worried. He knows that in order to replace his classic it will cost at least $30,000.00. In addition, he has owned this car since high school and cannot imagine life without it.  Despite all his efforts to convince the insurance adjuster that his car was worth at least $30,000.00, they just won’t budge with their offer. That’s when they should call us!

We travel to and inspect the damaged 1969 Pontiac Firebird.  We put together a detailed appraisal report in the format that an insurance company will respond to and prove that the damaged 1969 Pontiac Firebird, immediately before the accident was worth $31,500.00. The insurance company will then call in their own appraiser to perform a second appraisal of that ’69 Firebird. At this stage the insurance company is totally out of the loop and we negotiate on the car owners behalf and successfully prove that the damaged 1969 Pontiac Firebird had a “Prior To Loss value” that now makes it financial worthwhile for the insurance company to repair the vehicle.

At Classic Auto Appraiser we have literally saved dozens and dozens of classic cars from the scrap heap!

Here is another unfortunate but all too common scenarios that required a PRIOR TO LOSS APPRAISAL. Pick any vehicle from a 2008 BMW 535i to a customized 1967 Ford Mustang. This imaginary vehicle is stolen and never recovered.  Again the insurance company offers the vehicle owner a dollar amount that he or she thinks is not a fair replacement cost. Again the vehicle owner’s attempts to get further funds from the insurance company are futile. That’s when usually we get the call!

We visit with the owner of the stolen vehicle and review all receipts, photos, service records and other related documents. Again we do the necessary extensive research and prepare a detailed “Prior to Loss Appraisal”. Then, on the owner’s behalf we will negotiate, we with the insurance adjuster and the insurance companies own appraiser in order to secure more money for them.

We are very successful at this procedure and have had incredible results in many cases. We recently had a case with an extremely customized 2008 Subaru STI that was insured for only $38,000.00 with Liberty Mutual and we were able to get the owner $103,000.00 for that little hotted-up import! We successfully got the owner of this ’08 Subaru no less than sixty five thousand dollars MORE for his car than the insurance company first offered him!

I am in no way promising the same results in every case, but we will work hard for you on your behalf and do our absolute best to represent your best interest in your insurance dispute.

Appraisal Price List

Basic vehicle appraisal: $300.00
Basic motorcycle appraisal: $300.00
Custom vehicle appraisal: $350.00
Custom motorcycle appraisal: $350.00
Diminished Value appraisal: $400.00
Prior To Loss appraisal: $350.00
Pre-purchase inspection: $450.00
Insurance dispute appraisal: $375.00
Online appraisal: $200.00
Vehicle damage appraisal: Price varies depending on damage

Now-a-days all appraisals are now sent via email in a PDF format. If a ‘hard copy’ is required an additional $50.00 should be added to the above cost.

The above prices are for a vehicle within a one hour or so drive of our office. Travel time may be added for inspections not within that radius.

We also offer multi vehicle discounts for collections!

Prices subject to change without notice.