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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Taxes & Financial Planning > Car Appraisal

Car Appraisal Cost


How Much Does a Car Appraisal Cost?

 
average costAssessment (Without Inspection): $80-$125high costAppraisal (With Inspection): $100-$500
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A car appraisal is a written estimate of a vehicle's current value based on the appraiser's training and experience and current market trends. A vehicle appraisal is typically done when buying, selling or insuring a classic, antique or custom car; to get a tax value for a charitable donation; when dividing property for an estate or divorce; or when a car owner disputes the amount offered by an insurance company after a car is damaged or totaled in a collision. An increasing number of classic cars are being sold online, with buyers using an appraisal/inspection to evaluate the vehicle before they actually see it.

Typical costs:

  • Car appraisals are available for $100-$500 or more, but a detailed appraisal that includes photos, a thorough inspection and a written report typically costs $175-$350, depending on location, travel time or if the vehicle is brought to the appraiser. For example, Classic Appraisals[1] in Wisconsin charges $175 if a classic car is brought to them or $225 to travel within the Milwaukee metropolitan area for a "bumper to bumper analysis" with several color pictures; body tag or VIN decoding (vehicle identification number, with digits that if correctly interpreted can identify where and when the vehicle was manufactured, and with which factory-issued features); factory production statistics; comparable sales; and general comments. AutoAppraise.com[2] , with appraisers in 48 states, charges $350 plus $65 an hour travel time for a detailed pre-purchase inspection including an initial and final consultation; 80-150 or more photos of the vehicle section-by-section; and written results from a test drive. Diminished Value of Georgia[3] charges $175 in the Atlanta area to appraise a totaled or stolen car and $225 for a diminished value appraisal of a vehicle that has been repaired to pre-accident condition.
  • If the appraiser does not physically inspect the vehicle, the evaluation is technically not an appraisal but an assessment, which can cost $80-$125. For example, Diminished Value of Georgia[4] charges $95 for an assessment based on facts provided by the client and USA Auto Appraisers[5] in Nebraska offers a "simple email auto appraisal" for antique, classic or or custom automobiles for $99.
What should be included:
  • A vehicle appraisal should include the date and location of the inspection, the date of the valuation, a full description of the vehicle, the methods used to establish value, the purpose of the appraisal, a description of the appraiser's qualifications and the appraiser's signature plus any certification or registration marks. TheAutoAppraiser.com in California explains what should be included.
  • Before an appraisal, clean, wash and wax the vehicle and complete all basic maintenance (change oil, add windshield wiper fluid, have a full tank of gas). Do a brief inspection and consider replacing any worn belts, filters or windshield wipers.
Additional costs:
  • If the vehicle appraisal is part of a legal dispute or an insurance claim, having the appraiser provide expert testimony typically costs $200-$300 an hour. For example, Auto Appraisal Network[6] in California charges $250 an hour, with a four-hour minimum.
Discounts:
  • Ask about discounts for seniors, military personnel or others. Diminished Value of Georgia[7] offers a $25 discount for AAA members or military personnel.
  • For a rough estimate, free pricing information is available through sites like NADA Guides[8] , Hemmings[9] , Kelley Blue Book[10] , Edmunds[11] or AutoTrader[12] .
Shopping for a car appraisal:
  • For classic, antique or custom cars, appraisals are typically available at shows or exhibitions, or ask for recommendations from a car club specializing in that particular model or type of car. For insurance valuations, attorneys specializing in car accidents typically have recommendations for auto appraisers.
  • There is no single national organization that certifies auto appraisers, and there are no formal training requirements[13] . Most states do not require vehicle appraisers to be licensed, although a few have licensing requirements for appraisers who assess damages for insurance purposes. For example, appraisers in Pennsylvania must pass the state's Motor Vehicle Physical Damage Appraiser exam; Massachutsetts requires proof that the person worked for a licensed car appraiser and completed an approved appraisal course; Oregon[14] requires two years experience with a licensed appraiser; and Vermont[15] says the applicant must pass a test and be employed by a licensed appraiser. Check with the secretary of state's office about appraiser requirements.
  • Ask about the appraiser's training process and experience, and how and when any certifications were earned or awarded. Classic Auto Appraiser in California lists what to consider[16] when choosing a car appraiser.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.classicappraisals.biz/Our-Appraisals.php
  2.  www.autoappraise.com/pre-purchase-auto-inspections.htm
  3.  diminishedvalueofgeorgia.com/auto-appraisal-price-order/
  4.  diminishedvalueofgeorgia.com/auto-appraisal-price-order/
  5.  www.usaautoappraisers.com/
  6.  www.autoappraisalnetwork.com/expert-witness.html
  7.  diminishedvalueofgeorgia.com/auto-appraisal-price-order/
  8.  www.nada.com/
  9.  www.hemmings.com/
  10.  www.kbb.com/
  11.  www.edmunds.com/
  12.  www.autotrader.com/
  13.  www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Claims-adjusters-appraisers-examiners-and-invest...
  14.  www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/dealers/abandonedvehapp.aspx
  15.  www.dfr.vermont.gov/insurance/producer-licensing/auto-damage-appraiser-license-info
  16.  www.classicautoappraiser.com/choosing.php
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