total loss, auto appraisal

In every claim I have ever handled where the vehicle was a total loss and had a salvage / rebuilt title, I was instructed to deduct 50% of it’s pre-accident value to account for the salvage / rebuilt status.  Also, when I was handling claims for insurance companies, I was routinely told that diminished value did not exist and to simply deny paying for it.

If asked, the main reason for denial was because it was a “stigma” claim, for which we did not legally owe (which was a lie).  The next best denial reason was that unless the vehicle sold for a loss due to the repair history, the claim was “unrealized” and there was no claim (also a lie).

Just think about that for a minute if you’re an adjuster.  Are you not instructed to deduct 40 – 60 % of the value on a total loss settlement if the vehicle had a salvage or rebuilt title?  And are you not instructed to refuse to pay diminished value on vehicles that are repairable?  Do you know the law about the matter?  I do.

The fact of the matter is that in most cases, if a vehicle has any substantial value, then if damaged and repaired, it will suffer lost market value due to stigma.  If your damages were due to another person’s negligence, then their liability insurance company will ultimately have to settle the claim for them if you sue the person.

How is stigma loss documented and how do you sue?

Information is always free at Petty Details, LLC!


  • I am dealing with trying to pursue Met Life (based out of N. Carolina) for diminished value. A drunk hit my parked car, causing approx. $9000 damage. He was being arrested so I didn’t get his insurance, and I had to file an open records request to get it, which took months (I’m in Texas, btw). In the meantime, I filed a subregation claim with my insurance (State Farm). They told me it was up to me to pursue dv, so I started doing that once I got his insurance information (he is with Met Life, based in NC). They told me I had to get a write up from a professional diminished value company and give them that write up. They also told me they had to inspect the vehicle (they told me before I traded it in that they didn’t have to inspect it). Do they have a right to make me go through an outside company and pay a fee?

  • They cannot force you to get an appraisal from an expert, but you will have a hard time proving your damages without one. Call my office and I’ll discuss it with you for free. 214-227-2154

  • I’ve heard this story so many times and it still makes me sick. Insurance company says, “you have to sell your car to claim your diminished value”. Claimant sells car with XXXX.XX loss. Insurance company says, “We can’t pay because we need to inspect your car, and by the way, the loss you had isn’t valid because you had full control over the sale. Take the time and call Justin. He’ll give you good, solid advice, so you won’t fall for these type of traps. Who do I turn to when “I” have a question about Diminished Value? Justin Petty. – Ken Nix, Licensed Auto Appraiser #V34-075 Owner: Diminished Value of Oregon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *