For What It's Worth Wisdom and Insight from the Auto Appraisal Group

Car Appraisal by certified vehicle appraiserSo you’ve decided to get your car appraised. Understanding how the car appraisal process works can help you to find the right appraiser and get the most out of your appraisal.

A vehicle appraisal is a documented estimate of the current value of the car based on condition, history, and current market trends. Appraisals are usually performed when a vehicle is bought, sold, or insured, and by collectors and hobbyists. An appraisal is also useful for determining the tax value of a donation, in estate cases, or in legal disputes after an accident. In this article we cover everything you need to know about the Car Appraisal Process.

What Are Vehicle Appraisals Used For

Vehicle appraisals serve various purposes in the automotive world. They are used for determining the fair market value of a vehicle, which is essential in multiple scenarios. Some common uses of car appraisals include:

  • Selling and Buying: Whether selling a car privately or to a dealership, an accurate appraisal helps in setting a fair price for the vehicle, benefiting both the seller and buyer.
  • Insurance Purposes: Appraisals are crucial for insurance companies to assess the value of a vehicle in case of damage, loss, or claims, ensuring appropriate coverage.
  • Obtaining Loans or Financing: Lenders often require an appraisal to determine the vehicle’s value before granting loans, using the car as collateral.
  • Legal and Tax Reasons: During legal proceedings, such as divorce settlements or inheritance, a vehicle’s value, as determined by an appraisal, can be vital. Also, tax deductions or assessments may rely on the appraised value of a car, such as diminished value, charitable donations, and more.

An accurate car appraisal is indispensable for various transactions and assessments related to vehicles, providing an accurate representation of a car’s worth in different contexts.

How to Choose a Vehicle Appraiser

Selecting a qualified car appraiser is a crucial step in ensuring an accurate and reliable valuation of your vehicle. To choose the right car appraiser, consider several key factors. Look for an appraiser with relevant experience and expertise in assessing the type of vehicle you own. It’s also beneficial to review their track record and client testimonials, verifying their reputation and reliability in providing fair and unbiased assessments. Additionally, consider an appraiser who communicates clearly, explaining the appraisal process and the factors influencing the valuation. Transparency, expertise, experience, and a solid reputation are essential elements to look for when choosing a car appraiser, ensuring a credible and accurate appraisal of your vehicle.

Vehicle Appraisal by AAG AgentHow Much Does a Car Appraisal Cost

How much a car appraisal costs is typically reflected in the quality of the appraisal that you receive. While you can receive a cheap car appraisal for under $100 dollars, we typically say that a good vehicle appraisal will cost somewhere between $250 and $750, although the cost can be higher for custom and modified automobiles. While it may be tempting to choose the least expensive appraiser available, the cheapest appraisals may be performed by inexperienced appraisers and produce inaccurate results.

We cover more about How Much Do Car Appraisals Cost in our blog topic about this subject and delve deeper into why some appraisals cost more than others.

What Does a Car Appraisal Include

A standard vehicle appraisal should include:

– Date and location of the inspection
– Date the valuation is established
– A full, detailed description of the vehicle
– Methods used to establish a value
– Purpose of the appraisal
– Description of the appraiser’s qualifications including certifications
– Appraiser’s signature and physical address

A certified value appraisal should include an onsite inspection of the vehicle by a certified agent. This inspection should include photographs of the vehicle and the agent should also gather pertinent historical information as available from the owner. A master appraiser should review all research and valuations, preferably with a centralized database at hand to ensure consistency. Appraisals completed online, without an inperson inspection, can not properly value your individual vehicle and can undervalue your vehicle. This can result in a loss of money if the vehicle is sold under value or potential loss of insurance reimbursement.

If your car or vehicle is involved in a legal dispute or insurance claim, you may want the appraiser to provide expert testimony. This will incur additional charges.

How to Prepare for a Car Appraisal

Best Car Appraisal ProcessIf you are having your vehicle appraised, it is in your best interest to prepare your vehicle before the appraisal to achieve the most accurate value.

  • Clean the Vehicle: Before your vehicle is appraised, it’s best to clean, wash and wax the vehicle. This helps the appraiser properly evaluate the condition of the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
  • Perform Basic Maintenance: Be sure that all basic maintenance has been completed (oil changes, fill all fluids, new filters).
  • Fill the Gas: Be sure there is enough gas for the appraiser to take a test ride.
  • Prepare Documentation: Gather documentation about the vehicle, including the title, maintenance receipts, repair and restoration information, and any documentation proving unique aspects of the vehicle that could increase its value.
  • Park In a Good Location: Park the vehicle in a well-lit location that allows the appraiser 360-degree access to the vehicle. Ideally, park on a hard surface that allows them easy access to the underside of the vehicle, such as a driveway or garage.

How We Can Help

If you are looking for an experienced and trustworthy vehicle appraiser, Auto Appraisal Group is here to help. We have been providing car appraisals for over 30 years, with certified agents in over 40 states nationwide. Our tried and true method is not just “one man’s opinion”, but a systematic approach to documenting your vehicle, so you get consistent results every time. A properly performed appraisal done by a certified, experienced agent is always your best choice. An accurate estimate from a trained professional allows you and others to get the best value from your vehicle.
Check out AAG’s Vehicle Appraisals and call us to schedule!