Auto Diminished Value vs. the Kelley Blue Book

January 27, 2012

Drivers who want to deal with auto diminished value for a vehicle need to know the critical differences between a blue book estimate and the kind of value estimates that vehicle owners and insurers use after car accidents. Figuring out and proving auto diminished value is almost always a complex process. Lots of insurers don't recognize auto diminished value, and those who do may put up a fight around negotiating lost value for a vehicle.

Kelley Blue Book Values

The Kelley Blue Book value of a vehicle is a standard value estimate based on model year, mileage, features and condition of the vehicle. It is a somewhat generic pricing method, but one that is reliable because it takes into account so many factors and produces a useful average that buyers and sellers can use to predict the street value of a vehicle.

Auto Diminished Value

Those who are figuring out auto diminished value are going beyond blue book pricing to look at how a vehicle wreck impacts what a buyer would pay for it afterward. there is what is called "inherent diminished value" where the vehicle owner argues that they won't be able to get an equitable sale price for the vehicle just because it has previously been wrecked. Other auto diminished value claims rest on repairs that don't fully address cosmetic issues, or other issues such as a bent chasis.

In any kind of auto diminished value claim, car or truck owners will need to present values that are different from the Kelley Blue Book value, to show that what they're vehicle used to be worth is not a realistic value after an accident.


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