Why can't I have my friend, mechanic, or club member appraise my car?
Anyone can set a value on a car BUT.. will it stand up to a challenge? Some insurance companies are well known for challenging vehicle values when a claim is made. It does not matter if they accepted it when you bought the insurance or that you have been paying a premium on the value. It is easy for an insurance company lawyer to challenge any value set by anyone who may have any possible conflict of interest. This is not uncommon and many agreed or specified values have been challenged in court and the car owner has lost. This allows the insurance company to set any value they want. To avoid this, it is important to use an independent Certified Vehicle Appraiser. Appraisals by people who are associated with firms that buy, sell, restore, transport, or repair vehicles opens the door for having the value challenged!
Even having a club member, show judge or other person familiar with your car does not mean the value will not be challenged. The person setting the value must also have considerable credentials and experience in setting vehicle values. To date, our Certified Vehicle Appraisal has never lost to a insurance company challenge. Many values set by others have been set aside.
Don’t take the chance – Get a Certified Vehicle Appraisal.
Is the appraisal's fair market value what I can sell my car for?
Not necessarily. The fair market value is based on sales of vehicles like yours in the overall market. The point of a fair market value is to set what it would cost you to replace your current vehicle with one similar and in the same condition. The price you can sell your vehicle is based on what someone is willing to pay for it as illustrated by the prices at some of the auctions. Many cars sell for more OR less than the fair market value at the auctions. The value of a Certified Vehicle Appraisal is that it sets a documented value point based on the condition of your vehicle. This gives you a starting point to determine the price you wish to sell the vehicle for, and,to make sure it is in line with the market place.
Is the value of my vehicle the same as the auction prices I see on TV?
No, Not Really! If you have ever attended or seen the big auctions on TV, you can see that some vehicles sell at prices way beyond what the average sales price would be. This can be due to many reasons such as “Auction Fever”. Go to any type of auction and watch what happens when 2 or more people seek to win an item. Also, take note that the actual selling price does not include the auction commission which is often an additional 10%. On the other side, the owner received about 10% LESS than the selling price! The real market value goes out the door and egos and competition take over. Also, the condition rating of the vehicles at the auctions are not posted. It is impossible to determine what condition rating really is. Be aware that the information and discription is provided by the seller and NOT verified by the auction. Auction prices can have an impact on the fair market value when a trend appears like the past “HEMI” prices but remember, auction prices do NOT set the market values. The market values are determined by the actual sales as reported to the various pricing guides. A Certified Vehicle Appraisal is your best guide. It sets the fair market value and documents the condition based on the definition set by the industry.
What are condition ratings?
Condition Ratings are definitions of the car’s condition as set by the pricing guides. They vary a little from pricing guide to pricing guide, but overall, they are fairly standardized on the 1-6 rating. Briefly,
#1 Car is a concourse level show car that is not driven other than to and from the show field.
#2 Car is a “driven” show car, not quite #1 condition. It is driven usually less than 1000 miles a year. It can compete for top honors if a #1 car is not present.
#3 These cars are driven, and may show some wear when closely examined. They usually look very good from 20 feet. Close inspection shows minor imperfections or wear. 95% of the cars at shows and cruise-ins are a #3 condition.
#4 Even from 20 feet away is a #4. items needing restoration are evident. It usually is a “driver” that someone really enjoys. It may have minor visible body rust, rot or paint issues.
#5 car may or may not run, needs a total restoration and all the parts are there. This cr may or may not be financially viable for restoration.
#6 car is a parts car.
To see a sample list of ratings, go to
On a Certified Vehicle Appraisal, we have further defined the condition ratings to include a + or – rating (I.E. 2-) to expand the condition codes even further.
I put $60,000 in my restoration, isn't that what my car's value is?
Unfortunately no! The value of your car is based on the condition, the current market value, and demand. The condition determines the value so an excellent restoration will increase the car’s condition rating, and hence will be worth more. Don’t be discouraged because the financial investment can make a big difference to a potential buyer. This is only true if it is documented. It’s not the amount of dollars spent but how the investment increases the vehicle’s desirability. To some buyers, a beautiful purple metallic paint job may be just what they wanted. Other buyers are looking for original cars. Those wanting unmodified cars will see the paint as something that decreases the value in their mind. The value of your car is based on what someone will pay for it. Sometimes you can recover all or most of your investment, but, for example, putting $60,000 into a car that has a market value of $10,000, will not recoup your investment. The real key is if you enjoy the car, nothing is more important. We’ve seen many cars that the money spent will never be recovered, BUT, the owner loves his/her car and drives it often. Having a Certified Vehicle Appraisal, that includes the listing of documented investment, will help you to potentially get a higher price from the “right” buyer.
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