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Diminished Value (DV) Trends

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 21, 2016

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel, The Scarlett Letter, the main character had to wear a scarlet "A" to let others know of her alleged sin. Fortunately today, people are not subject to public shame over a single circumstance or event. However, if their vehicle has been in an accident, databases worldwide track this information and make potential buyers aware of the vehicle's history. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

There are 25 million accidents in the U.S. each year. Only 15% of those are deemed total losses and paid out by insurance companies. The balance is repaired, driven unrepaired or scrapped. Repairing these vehicles is a multi- billion dollar endeavor and only half of the damaged vehicles are repaired with insurance company funds. That leaves 10 million with no financial assistance due to lack of insurance coverage, being at-fault or some combination thereof.

The emergence of Vehicle History Reports has made the accident the “star of the show,” creating another multi-billion dollar industry. CarFax in particular has dominated the consumer market with its FUD (Fear/Uncertainty/Doubt) marketing tactics. The American public is now convinced that a vehicle is “worthless” after an accident. They are correct-both literally and figuratively because “worth less” is indeed the case. This loss in value due to stigma is called "diminished value."

The psyche of today’s car buyer is dominated by CarFax in the U.S. and 9 out of 10 customers will not even look at a vehicle if it has accident history. This is not opinion, it is absolute and unless the selling dealer can provide proof that the vehicle is accident free, the vehicle is passed over. Most customers at the retail point of sale believe that alternative vehicle history reports like AutoCheck are controlled and manipulated by dealers to trick customers into buying a vehicle with accident history. This forces the dealer to provide multiple vehicle history reports to sell the same vehicle. As a result of this brand strength, virtually every business in the automotive supply chain touching a retail transaction has a significant need for extensive vehicle history reporting.

Below are high-level observations on how vehicle history reports impact industry players:

What is Diminished Value?

Imagine you’re going to BestBuy for the new Samsung 4K HDTV – the pinnacle of flat screens. The retail price is $18,499 and they are completely sold out, but they have a refurbished one they can sell you right now for the full retail price. Would you buy it? Seriously, only a fool pays full retail for a refurbished item so you quickly ask what the discount is and what specifically was wrong with the TV offered for sale. The salesperson tells you that he has no way of knowing what was wrong with the TV, just that it has been refurbished and the great news is that they can save you 10%. Now 10% is a nice gesture but hardly enough to make any consumer want to buy a “refurbished” high-ticket item, especially not knowing the extent to which the unit was repaired. Was it a power button?

Was it dropped and the screen shattered, or just an open box used for display at a show?

Now if 10% is obviously not enough of a discount to induce the buyer to consider a “refurbished” high-ticket piece of electronics, why would that suffice for an automobile? Refurbished is a very general term leaving much room for imagination when a very high degree of precision is required for collision repairs. The insurance company has all the details associated with the repair, to the penny, but will not share this information with vehicle history reporting agencies. They will, however, make certain that the claim is reported and specifically what the cause or nature of that claim was in general terms. Here within lies the problem because we don’t know as the buyer or seller of the vehicle downstream what the severity of the repairs were, so we are left to deal with the stigma of “refurbished.” The customer simply does not know the severity of the accident so they look for a vehicle with no accident history because there is no benchmark for exactly how much discount they are entitle to. The vehicle with accident history sits in dealer inventory a long time until discounted heavily to be sold. This discount is diminished value and CrashCalculator.com sets the standard for the calculation.

What We See

Here are a few statistics from 2015:

    - Average diminished value loss was $3,000
    - 85% of total diminished value loss was inherent or “stigma” related
    - Structural damage occurs to a very high degree (95%) at specific thresholds
    - Unitized construction: $3,500 - Full frame: $4,500 - Unitized on frame: $4,000
    - Airbag deployment results in structural compromise 98% of the time
    - Structural damage can exist and is not disclosed until the vehicle is inspected and processed* by an NAAA auction
    - Inherent and structural diminished value is not related to repair quality
    - Substandard or poor quality collision work will have a demonstrable effect on vehicle value but are unrelated to diminished value

Other Challenges

In our foreword we mentioned that 10 million accidents each year go unreported. Not all of these vehicles are repaired; some are scrapped or driven in their damaged state. Typically repairs are paid out-of-pocket by savvy owners seeking to avoid policy rate hikes plus the loss in value associated with accident history. The insurance carriers win as claims handling costs go down and everyone else downstream loses as the vehicles get sold or traded with the repairs being later documented through physical inspection. Auto Auctions most commonly see these repairs and report them as “frame/structural” damage announcements to AutoCheck.

Silos

AutoCheck is the only VHR with physical inspection data from auto auctions but it is limited to frame/structural damage announcements that are not shared with consumers. The damage associated with these findings at auction fall on the higher end of the severity scale because they occur when damage is greater than the average insurance reimbursed repair. AutoCheck and CarFax do not collaborate and there are hundreds of thousands of vehicles that have frame/structural damage in their history but no documented record of an accident in the vehicle history file. Experts estimate that there are 70-80 million vehicles on U.S. roads with accident history and 10% have suffered frame/structural damage.

Auto Dealers are required to disclose accident history in most states but if the vehicle was purchased in a “whole and undamaged state” how does the dealer ascertain it was in an accident? Paintwork does not prove that a vehicle was in a collision and, unless there is glaring evidence of collision damage or vehicle history, it is not easy for the dealer to find or disclose such evidence, which creates liability.

Conclusions

Diminished value is tangible and a very big problem in the U.S. – more than $250 billion!

The monetary damage created by diminished value runs deep and touches almost every vendor in used vehicle supply chain. Vehicle History Data Providers are working feverishly to add more data, more products and dig deeper to provide more of a picture and create more value. This information should be available to “all” sources if it is discovered or created and has an impact on the value of the vehicle. Insurance carriers are the largest collision repairer in the U.S. yet they shield the American public from the details associated with the actual repairs. The average collision repair performed is $3,500 and with more transparency, diminished value would be far less of a problem.

Data providers, auctions and insurance companies should also share data that has an impact on vehicle value. This would include but not be limited to:

    - Frame/structural damage
    - Flood damage
    - Fire damage
    - Smoke damage
    - Previous repairs
    - Substandard repairs
    - Collision repair work performed
    - Mileage discrepancy
    - Theft history
    - Salvage/total loss

About Us

Vehicle Valuation Systems provides best-in-class diminished value figures instantly without the need for a physical inspection. Consumers, dealers, attorneys and financial institutions use CrashCalculator.com for legal settlements, vehicle valuations and risk management. Our patent pending CrashCalculator.com allows users to do large volumes of diminished value reports quickly and easily.

Liberty Mutual’s New Vehicle Replacement Program – What a Great Idea!

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

By now you have seen one of Liberty Mutuals New Vehicle Replacement ads….if not here are links to both spots:

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7yvo/liberty-mutual-new-car-replacement

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7yPK/liberty-mutual-new-car-replacement-and-accident-forgiveness

We love the concept but it begs the question; why only for vehicles less than one year old?

Liberty Mutual obviously gets an “A” for the idea, but an “F” for execution because only a small percentage of the vehicles on US roads are less than 12 months old. If you read the disclaimer in their ad which appears for roughly 5 seconds of the spot, its for new or current model year vehicles only. This gets them a bunch of exposure on the marketing side because consumers will check in with Liberty Mutual for a rate, but very few people will actually be in position to use the new car replacement option because is new car buyers only. What about the other 230 million people on US roads ? What if they want a replacement program? What option is available to them?

While no insurance company offers a vehicle replacement program for a used vehicle, there are several companies that buy damaged cars “as-is” and allow the consumer to keep their repair check and go get a new vehicle. This isn’t a true replacement program, or a total loss, but its the next best thing. In fact, many insurance carriers offer a hybrid of this program “off the radar” for their best customers. DamageMAX.com launched it’s Courtesy Total Loss Program 18 months ago and currently accepts customer referrals from 3 major insurance carriers.

If you just wrecked your car and you want to get something new, keep the repair check and call DamageMAX for a free, no obligation quote. We buy vehicles “as-is, where-is” all over the Continental United States.

My Car is Wrecked, But not a Total Loss

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We speak to hundreds of people each day that have been in an accident and want out of their vehicle. Nobody wants a wrecked vehicle even if its repaired perfectly. Your insurance company may tell you they are responsible to repair the car to "pre-accident" condition. That is the agreement they have with you, also referred to as your insurance policy or binder. But is it really possible to "restore" a vehicle to it's pre-accident condition? Not really. Even if the vehicle is repaired with surgical precision by human hands, there will be flaws and inconsistencies. The welds won't be done by the robots at the factory and the parts won't be dipped in zinchro-metal baths…Plus, the vehicle will have accident history and the value of your vehicle will never be what it was "pre-accident".

What can you do about it? Make the most of a bad situation and be informed before you agree to the repairs. Here are three things you can do to get the most out of your auto insurance claim:

  1. After the vehicle repair estimate is performed, ask for a digital copy via email along with the photos (images). That can be shared with other collision shops that may offer to repair the vehicle for less money. Additionally, you may find out that your insurance estimate is low and you are entitled to more money to get the vehicle repaired to "pre-accident" value!
  2. Get a cash offer for the damaged vehicle "as-is". You can call (888) 629-2137 or email the repair estimate to info@damagemax.com and we will respond immediately with a buy price that includes us towing it away. It may make sense to keep the repair check and sell the wrecked vehicle "as-is".
  3. Remind your insurance adjuster that you are the customer. If you have been a loyal one, tell them for how many years you have been with their company and that next premium check you write will go to a competitor! You may get more cooperation if you let them know you plan to switch companies.

There are close to 70,000 accidents per annum on US Roads. Half of them have coverage and get repaired or totaled. Most people want "out" of their vehicle after a wreck, especially a bad one. Think about how many television ads you have to watch and how many of them are insurance companies vying for your business! Ask yourself if they would be doing that much advertising if their business was not profitable?

If you've just had an accident and you don't want to keep your car, call DamageMAX.com. We buy damaged vehicles in every state, in any condition.

For additional information please call (888) 629-2137 to speak with a live agent. We do not charge for consultations.

Repair-a-Wreck disclosure bill cruises along, heads to Colorado Senate floor

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 04, 2014

Coloradans will have a harder time repairing and selling totaled vehicles without harming their value and insurability under a measure that rolled through a state Senate committee with some bipartisan support Tuesday.

House Bill 1299 would remove an exemption to the state’s salvage-title law. Under that exemption, sellers of cars that are wrecked and rebuilt after they are more than six years old do not have to note that reconstruction on the cars' titles.

The measure would require salvage status to be listed on titles of all vehicles that have been damaged by collision, fire, flood, accident, trespass or other occurrence to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle to a roadworthy condition exceeds the vehicle’s retail fair market value just before the damage.

Members of the Senate Transportation Committee had to balance concerns about vehicle affordability with concerns about people covering up cars and trucks that may not be fit for road usage any longer.

The six-year exemption was put into state law in 1994 when many cars did not last much longer than that time frame. But the average Colorado car now is more than 11 years old, meaning a law change would affect 81 percent of vehicles being driven in the Centennial State.

If you have a damaged vehicle and don't want to repair it, keep your insurance check and sell your wrecked car or truck to DamageMAX. DamageMAX is the leading buyer of wrecked vehicles in the USA. For an immediate cash offer on any damaged or salvage title vehicle, call (888) 629-2137

Never Let Your Insurance Coverage Lapse

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 03, 2014

We found another state with a huge loophole for motor vehicle disaster. California isn't so golden right now for Jason P. the owner of a 2012 Mazda 6 that wrecked shortly after leaving the dealership with no auto insurance coverage. Jason called us hoping to recover the majority of the $15,000 that he owes his bank on the Mazda. Due to the severity of the damage, we were unable to get close but Jason is in a very tough spot because he cannot even sell the wrecked vehicle without the title. Since the vehicle had a lien and the bank was holding the title, Jason will have to figure out where to get the funds to repair the vehicle and keep making payments or face a repossession. What's worse yet for Jason is that the vehicle is at a storage facility accruing daily charges and he has no place to store the damage vehicle while he makes his decision.

We asked Jason if he let his insurance lapse and he indicated that he had just purchased the vehicle and was not required to have auto insurance for 30 days according to California Law. Jason took this grace period literally and left himself totally exposed. We checked for ourselves and California provides a grace period for auto insurance before vehicle registration is revoked. Click here to read more.

If you just wrecked your vehicle and you're not sure if you have coverage, call DamageMAX.com. and we will help you make the best decision, quickly. We will buy any damaged vehicle for cash and can even pay off the loan for you if you have equity.

Call (888) 995-6498 for an immediate cash offer on damaged, wrecked or inoperable cars and trucks.

Sell a Wrecked Honda

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Honda owners are discriminating, loyal and proud of their vehicle regardless of age or miles. That said, most Honda's are kept in excellent condition by their owners and they keep performing, delivering impeccable fuel economy for many miles and years of use. Because of their strong resale value, rarely is a Honda "scrapped", they just keep getting resold and refurbished or "re-purposed" by another Honda lover.

If you wreck your Honda and can't or don't want to repair it, DamageMAX is here to help you make the most of that situation. If it sells good new, it will sell good used and the parts will be in demand for another vehicle that needs repair. Don't junk that wrecked Honda, sell your Honda for Top Dollar to DamageMAX.

For an immediate cash offer on any Honda, please call (888) 629-2137 or visit damagemax.com.

Thinking About Donating a Wrecked Vehicle?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 20, 2014

One of your kids was texting away and wrecked mom's hand-me-down. The car has 100,000+ miles on it and you opted for the $1000 deductible in an attempt to "neutralize" the rate beating your insurance carrier threw you with the addition of those newly licensed drivers you are raising.

Seems like you might be throwing good money at a not so good cause by fixing the vehicle, so you look for a way out it. Junior suggests "Let's donate it Dad, and we'll get something else!" He never liked the old family sedan anyway, time for a "tuner car, right dad"? WRONG! Let's talk about the donation idea…

You hop on Google and search "car donation" and this is what you see -

About 93,300,000 results (0.36 seconds)

There are 93 Million results for the search "car donation" and there are no easy answers. Talk about a quagmire!

About a million cars get donated annually and about 75% of them are end-of-life vehicles. The other 25% are running and driving "granny cars" that are usually worth thousands of dollars. What happens to these cars will shock you and may even hurt your feelings. Most of the car donation sources are not charitable concerns they are car dealers, some of them are not even licensed. Many are recyclers posing as car donation processors that will try to pay you cash for the car and talk you out of the donation anyway. Donating a vehicle is not really an efficient way of getting the most out of the vehicle. There are very high disposal charges associated and the processor will usually take a % of the proceeds, leaving pennies on the dollar left for the charitable concern. Many times, those really nice "granny cars" seem to vanish into thin air and the charitable concern gets a check for a few hundred instead of a few thousand dollars!!!

If you want to get rid of a damaged vehicle and get top dollar for it, call DamageMAX.com. We always tow for free and we won't charge you any processing fees, title charges or administrative fees. You will always get paid the full amount that you negotiate with us.

Then take the proceeds from the sale of "Old Bessie" and send them to your favorite charity. It's a cleaner and simpler transaction and you'll know exactly where your money went.

For additional information on donating a wrecked vehicle, or no obligation price quotations, please contact www.damagemax.com.

Diminished Vehicle Value – The Perfect Storm for Insurance Companies

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Diminished Value is probably the dirtiest thing you can say to an insurance adjuster. Just say it and watch them get weird…Insurance adjusters are trained to be neutral and generally stoic by nature. It's pretty hard to "rattle their cage" unless you say the magic words "Diminished Value" or DV.

Diminished Value occurs when an automobile is involved in an accident, vandalism, storm or some other type of event where physical damage occurs.

There are three levels of diminished value:

  1. Stigma DV – the insurance companies involved will report your claim along with the settlement amount to data providers that will feed the information subsequently to CARFAX and AutoCheck. The vehicle will have a score that is impacted by this history and the value of the vehicle will depreciate up to 15% just because the vehicle was previously damaged.
  2. Frame / Structural DV – when there is physical evidence that a vehicle has been repaired extensively and the structure of the vehicle was compromised. The quality of the collision repair work is not in question, it is the fact that significant structural repairs were made to the vehicle. A good benchmark for the potential of structural DV would be collision repairs totaling to greater than $3500.00
  3. Sub-standard Repairs – physical evidence of poor quality repairs would significantly impact the value of the repaired vehicle. This compounds the DV effect as corrective repairs will be required before any estimate in DV can be ascertained.

Vehicle Data reporting sources like CARFAX & AutoCheck have created tremendous awareness, even fear and the american consumer is possessed with knowing vehicle history before they consider purchasing a vehicle. Great for CARFAX & AutoCheck, bad for insurance companies! Why? Because there are new businesses sprouting up every day to ride the Diminished Vehicle Value wave. There are companies like WreckCheck and TrueFrame that inspect previously damaged vehicles for repair quality in an attempt to restore a portion of the vehicles diminshed value. This comes at a price however, and the consumer must pay a few hundred dollars to get a certification that their vehicle was repaired properly. Sound fair to you? WRONG! You are sitting at a stoplight minding your own business and you get blasted from behind by a "texting teeny bopper" in mommy's Expedition. You are not at fault, and mommy's insurance company is quick to tell you they will be handling the repairs, but what about Diminished Value? Your vehicle is going to take a big hit in the value department and you won't be getting compensated for it?

CARFAX just announced that they will begin a classified listing service for automobiles. This will create more awareness as vehicles will only be listed "with" history reports visible for the consumer to peruse.

So if you're the victim of an accident and you believe you are not at fault, ask about being compensated for the Diminshed Value.

For more information on diminished vehicle value or to sell a previously damaged vehicle, please visit damagemax.com.

Should You Salvage Your Vehicle?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 10, 2014

We see a lot of blogs on this topic all over the internet. Most of them self-serving attempts by a junk yard trying to earn a few extra "Google Clicks" a month. Usually, there isn't any valuable information contained in the blog itself, just lots of the same key word phrases over and over…This is called "stuffing" and it's an SEO tactic that is considered to be "gray hat" by the Google Police. Let's take a look at what salvage means…

Salvage defined - to gain something beneficial, from a failure or catastrophe. That something beneficial would be cash!

It's important for you to understand what salvage means in terms of automobiles before you decide to sell your vehicle. In the world of Damaged Vehicles, there are 3 categories or levels of vehicles with specific buying audiences for each:

Scrap/End of Life = Less than $1000
Parts Only = Less than $3500
Rebuildable = More than $3500

This information is extremely valuable if you don't know what category your damaged vehicle falls under. Many people have an accident with a late model vehicle and sell the car for scrap to a junk yard. There are hundreds of sites on the internet that hone in on the word JUNK, or JUNK YOUR CAR, or SELL JUNK CAR. People that sell their car to one of these firms probably just gave away hundreds of dollars by selling their "asset" for far below market value. No automobile is JUNK. It may fall into End-of-life, or SCRAP but it still will fetch a few hundred dollars and if it can be used for parts or rebuilt (repaired) it may bring thousands of dollars!

If you have a damaged vehicle to sell and you are uncertain what it is worth and just want a free price quote, please call (888) 629-2137 or visit http://damagemax.com/contact-us.htm.

Your Car Just had Another Birthday Today!

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 10, 2014

Congratulations, the 2015's are here already??? Nissan launched the new 2015 Versa last week at the Chicago Auto Show Click here for the full article.

What does it mean? Your car or truck is now a full model year older. That means it just took a value hit and if you have been in an accident, it may not make sense to repair the vehicle. If you just wrecked your truck or SUV, call DamageMAX for a free "as-is" price quote. All offers include free pick up and title transfer, there are never any hidden fees.

You can make an educated decision about whether to repair your vehicle or sell your vehicle as-is and keep the repair check and go get a new vehicle.

Don’t drive around in a repaired car that has been wrecked. Everyone knows that it will never be the same and no one will want to buy it when it's time to trade it in – not even a dealer will want a car that has been wrecked and repaired.

So save that $1000 deductible and make the smart decision by selling your wrecked car instead of fixing it!

For an immediate cash offer on any damaged vehicle call (888) 629-2137 or visit http://damagemax.com/contact-us.htm.


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