Diminished Value in Washington


Hire an Expert Diminished Value Appraiser in Washington



The best Diminished Value Appraisal you will find anywhere. -Franklin Colletta, Owner

Diminished Value is the difference in the value of your car directly before and directly after collision repairs have been completed. After being repaired, your car has a bad Carfax or other vehicle history report. This is known as Inherent Diminished Value. Used-car buyers in Washington prefer to purchase automobiles that were never previously damaged so your car, by comparison, is less appealing; hence, it is worth less. If there was frame/unibody damage or air bag deployment it is worth a lot less. You can make a third-party diminished value claim against the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident. The first step is to obtain an independent automobile diminished value appraisal from a diminished value expert. The St. Lucie Appraisal Company services Washington by providing diminished value reports and expert witness testimony for owners of damaged vehicles. You may call 772-359-4300 or email us at contact@stlucieappraisal.net if you have questions or need more information about diminished value in Washington.

Questions and Answers about Diminished Value in Washington

Q: What is Inherent Diminished Value?

A: The term “inherent diminished value” describes a stigma loss whereby potential buyers of used cars will naturally prefer to purchase vehicle that were never involved in collisions to those that were previously repaired.

Q: In Washington, you can file a claim against your own insurance company as well as a Third-Party Diminished Value Claim. What is a Third-Party claim?

A: This expression means that you are making a claim against the insurance company of the person responsible for causing the damage to your car rather than against your own insurer which are known as First-Party claims.

“Automobile insurance policy” means a policy providing First-Party and Third-Party coverage for property damage liability. “Diminished value” means the actual or perceived loss in market value or resale value which results from a direct or accidental loss. Diminished value is an element of property damage under an automobile insurance policy for First-Party and Third-Party claims. It should not bar the right of the claimant to promptly assert a claim for diminished value if the diminished value was directly caused by the accident

Q: How is The St. Lucie Appraisal Company different from other independent appraisers that prepare automobile diminished value reports in Washington?

A: Virtually every independent appraisal company working in the field of auto diminished value in Washington either relies on formulas or “algorithms” based on severity of damage, mileage, etc., auction results or simply offer their “expert opinions.” Insurance adjusters routinely downgrade these types of reports for different reasons, primarily because they are so easy to challenge in court.

The use of auction results, while illustrating a basic comparison between prices realized for previously damaged vs. virgin cars does not specifically address your vehicle, its damage, options, mileage, color, etc.

Formulas such as State Farm’s Rule 17c use what is called “damage modifiers” that assign points according to severity of damage and mileage. Auto diminished value appraisers using this formula must, naturally, use higher modifiers than insurance companies would. This simply creates a controversy over whose formula is right. The same goes for so-called algorithms.

The St. Lucie Appraisal Company obtains its data directly from the pre-owned managers at automobile dealerships – the people directly responsible for buying the trade-ins. In our query, the year, make, model, mileage, color options, amount and nature of damages is discussed. Based on that information, a dealer can determine exactly how much less he would pay for the car. We compile six dealer quotes and by averaging their deductions, our automobile diminished value figures are created. It is clearly noted in our reports that all of the dealers queried are told that the subject vehicles are not available for purchase or trade, therefore, none of the dealers queried have any vested interest in the subject vehicles. Our clients receive much fairer treatment from insurers.

Q: Do I need an attorney to file an automobile diminished value claim on my behalf?

A: You may elect to hire a lawyer that specializes in Washington diminished value cases from the outset but you can also file your automobile diminished value claim yourself. Our reports usually result in satisfactory claim settlements, however, after submitting your report to the insurance company, if you feel that their offer is inadequate or you are being treated unfairly, that would be the time to hire a lawyer to work on your behalf. It should be noted that our experience testifying as an expert witness has resulted in insurance companies being ordered to pay for the independent appraisal fee, the expert witness fee and for the claimant attorney’s fee in addition to the full amount of the diminished value.

Q: In what states are St. Lucie Appraisal’s services available?

A: Our automobile diminished value appraisals are sought after by car owners all over the country. We provide automobile diminished value reports in Washington as well as in all 50 states.

Q: Does the independent appraiser need to physically inspect my repaired vehicle?

A: With regard to hiring an appraiser for a personal inspection your car, everyone should be aware that a physical inspection of the repaired car is completely unnecessary and only serves to line the appraiser’s pocket as you will be charged more for their service. The car is fixed. There’s nothing to see. In the case of REPAIR-RELATED diminished value, which is a loss of value because of shoddy repairs, a physical inspection is, indeed, necessary. Your claim, and 99% of diminished value claims, represent INHERENT DIMINISHED VALUE and only allege a loss of value because the vehicle now has a repair history or bad Carfax.

Q: The insurance company has made an offer for diminished value. Am I required to accept it?

A: Our recommendation – Do not accept an insurer’s Automobile Diminished Value settlement offer without first obtaining an appraisal from an independent appraiser. Because once you’ve signed and accepted the insurance company’s offer, the door to your receiving a fair settlement is closed.

Diminished Value in Washington – Read our Online Reviews

The St. Lucie Appraisal Co. provided me with an estimate of the diminished value of my brand new 2014 Subaru Outback post repair to industry standards, after it was sideswiped along the entire left side of the auto while parked in front of my home.

I could not be more pleased by my experience with this business than I am. After submitting all the particulars needed for the appraisal, turnaround time was unbelievably fast—just about 24 hours. Communication with the firm was personal, responsive and just excellent. The report was well formatted. The price was more than reasonable—I would have paid more, considering what I got. The analytical approach and methodology used in preparing the report I believe to be sound as it is based on the actual combined and averaged opinions of 6 Subaru Used Car Managers from my region of the country. These individuals are professionals, specialists in making these determinations, who do so on a daily basis, and do so successfully under actual real life market conditions. Therefore, this yields a report that is highly credible and has substantial evidential weight should the matter eventually need to be adjudicated.

The St. Lucie Appraisal Co. has my unqualified endorsement with regard to the area of diminished value auto claims, and I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone needing help in this area.

That recent review, which can be found on The St. Lucie Appraisal Company’s Angie’s List Page, pretty much sums up our goals, our process and the way our customers feel after using our services. Our appraisal figures represent what the vehicle will encounter in the real world of used cars. It is the used car managers at dealerships who provide the most realistic assessment of values because automobile dealers are the ones purchasing and re-selling the vehicles. Our reports list each dealer, their estimation of how much less they would pay because of the bad CARFAX and any pertinent comments such as how different variables affected their decisions. Although it is more time consuming than using a formulaic or auction approach, it’s the only method by which accuracy can be obtained. In Washington, you won’t find a better automobile diminished value appraiser.

So be aware. Knowledge is power. Diminished value appraisal figures should represent what the vehicle will encounter in the real world of used cars in Washington. If you’d like hire us to prepare an appraisal or if you have any questions, please feel free to call us.


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Click on the payment button above to pay by Credit Card or Paypal. The fee for an Automobile Diminished Value Report is
You may also make your Credit Card Payment by telephone, call 772-359-4300.

After making your secure payment please email the body shop estimate or insurance company appraisal to contact@stlucieappraisal.net

Service in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Kent, Everett, Renton, Yakima, Federal Way, Spokane Valley, Kirkland, Bellingham, Kennewick, Auburn, Pasco, Marysville, Lakewood, Redmond, South Hill, Shoreline, Richland, Sammamish, Burien, Olympia and throughout Washington.


There is a proposed USAA Diminished Value Class Action Settlement in Washington approaching that will pay a whopping $500.00 to consumers in Washington who own or owned cars that were damaged by USAA insureds between July 1, 2008 and May 3, 2016. The case, Edmond Johnston Jr., et al. v. United Services Automobile Association, et al., Case No. 14-2-10507-5, in the Superior Court of the State of Washington, County of Pierce, involves thousands of vehicle owners and of the utmost importance is you understand your options. You can accept the payment or decide to opt out of the class. You must mail your Exclusion Request so that it is postmarked by September 6, 2016 to the following address:Johnston v. USAA Settlement, c/o Dahl Administration, LLC, PO Box 3614, Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614. The average diminished value of a car that was repaired after a wreck is $2,000.00. Automobiles that suffered structural damage or had air bags deploy lose up to half the value of their cars. We consistently demonstrate that Tesla, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz cars lose $40,000.00 in value after collision repairs. So why would someone want to accept the paltry sum of $500.00? USAA is hoping, no, make that praying that very few eligible individuals opt out of the settlement. The State of Washington has a statute of limitations of 3 years in which to file a claim so how this would affect those whose incidents took place before then is unclear. My advice if your accident falls outside of that date range would be to call the Washington Insurance Department at 800-562-6900 to determine whether opting out of the class would still enable you to make a claim. If your car was damaged in a collision that was the fault of a USAA insured, perhaps opting out of the class action settlement might be a wiser plan.

The alternative after opting out of the class is to make a claim for diminished value against USAA. You can obtain an Automobile Diminished Value Appraisal from any number of independent appraisers including The St. Lucie Appraisal Company.

Some rules of thumb:

  • Late model cars are more greatly affected.
  • Cars that had structural damage repairs or air bag deployment have lost up to 50% of their values.
  • USAA can challenge your claim.

Our company is unique among independent appraisers that prepare diminished value reports. The method by which we determine how much value a car has lost involves consulting with the experts – the sales managers at new car dealerships who buy, sell, trade and auction cars every day. If you own a Corvette, we obtain the opinions of six Chevrolet dealers in Washington to prove both the existence and approximate amount of diminished value. But whichever independent appraiser you hire, the decision to opt out of the class action suit represents two things:

  1. That you are seeking adequate compensation for the real-world loss in value of your car after collision repairs and the resultant bad Carfax or Autocheck vehicle history report that will forever be attached to that car..
  2. That by taking this route you face the possibility that USAA will attempt to deny or low-ball your claim which is pretty much the insurance industry standard in all 50 states anyway.

Insurance companies are getting smarter with regard to third-party diminished value claims. Litigation costs, increased complaints to state insurance departments, increased appraisal and other settlement costs, fewer insurers flat-out deny that diminished value exists after cars were properly repaired. The USAA companies deny that they did anything wrong, and maintain that they have complied with and exceeded their insurance policies and their obligations under Washington law. The parties, however, have agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the cost, delay, and uncertainty of continued litigation. The court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or USAA. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement, which, if approved, brings the litigation to an end.

To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter postmarked on or before September 6, 2016 to the Claims Administrator by first-class mail with a clear statement that you want to be excluded from the Johnston v. USAA Settlement. You must sign the statement. If you do nothing, you will get no money from this settlement. But unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the USAA companies about the legal issues in this case, ever again.

Johnston v. USAA Settlement
c/o Dahl Administration, LLC
PO Box 3614
Minneapolis, MN 55403-0614

If you have questions, please feel free to call or drop us a line via email.

The St. Lucie Appraisal Company
P.O. Box 2700
Fort Pierce, FL 34954
Phone: (772) 359-4300
Fax: (772) 466-8400
Email: contact@stlucieappraisal.net

paypal payment buttonThe fee for an Automobile Diminished Value Report is $275.00. You may also make your Credit Card Payment by telephone, call 772-359-4300.

After making your secure payment please email the completed body shop estimate or insurance company appraisal to contact@stlucieappraisal.net or FAX to 772-466-8400.

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