Accurate Interior Costs in Insurance Appraisals
Accurate Interior Costs in Insurance Appraisals
The idea of taking a normal vehicle and building it into a fully customized machine is the dream shared by many who identify as a gearhead. The feeling of stepping in and driving your very own vehicle that you designed can’t be beat. Or maybe the idea is to build a high horsepower race car that is dedicated for track use only. Either way, the defining characteristic is that a stock vehicle has been handily customized, with parts and alteration processes contributing to the vehicle increasing in value many times more times than the original purchase price. Just the cost of a decent paint job can exceed several thousand dollars. Then add an engine built by a speed shop dressed in performance parts and the value only increases. The entire build process can take many months, even years, and can take a veritable rust bucket and turn it into a shining beacon to what hard work and dedication can achieve. Just ask anyone that has a “barn find” story.
Then the day comes when your custom vehicle is ready to hit the road and you are eager to roll to the local car show or the track, and the thought of proper insurance crosses your mind. You did your diligence by adding it to your policy, but what happens if the worst occurs? Insurance companies are not in the business of being very understanding and their policies (and subsequent payouts) are based on info given by the owner. So giving a detailed and trustworthy account of how the vehicle was built and what parts were used are crucial to purchasing insurance for your unique vehicle. Insurance policyholders have a better chance at getting an accurate policy if their vehicle is verified by a third-party appraisal company. An accurate appraisal can create a clearer picture of what your vehicle is actually worth.
One thing to do is to drag out the giant manila folder of receipts and gather up all the work orders that it took to build your dream vehicle. Lay them out on a table, and start separating them into the major areas that make up your car like the interior, engine, suspension, exterior, wheels and tires, brakes, and even wiring. It all adds up to the total value of your car, but itemizing each area makes the job of the appraiser, and subsequently the insurance, easier. Labor is hard to prove when a work order is not given, but you can limit the amount of labor by having components that are designed to fit your individual vehicle. For instance, an interior can be a bottomless pit of labor and that can be virtually eliminated by using products that are already built. TMI built their “Interior in a Box” concept to not only aid in installation but to cut down on costly labor charges.
Having an exact cost for a certain segment of your vehicle appraisal makes the insurance process more streamlined and more accurate. In the car world, a majority of the costs associated with the parts that get installed pale in comparison to the labor charges. Talk to any person building a one-off show-level vehicle like something that came out of the shop of Chip Foose or Dave Kindig, or even Gas Monkey Garage, where that majority of the costs of a custom vehicle come from and they will in unison answer back with “Labor!!” Using a product like TMI will take all the guesswork out of the product’s cost versus installation costs as the interior components arrive complete and ready to install. Much like a wheel and tire combo that arrives complete and all the installer has to is bolt it up. Having accurate invoices and receipts is one thing, but knowing the total cost of the interior can go a long way to justify the insurance coverage level.
There are a great number of automobile appraisal companies that operate in the US that provide services to owners of vehicles that do not fall under a manufacturer's recommended value. Just think about how many campers, transportation vehicles, and historic low-production vehicles are out on the road that needs to have accurate insurance attached to them. Imagine that a race team has spent several hundred thousand dollars retrofitting a tractor-trailer to have strength improvements, electric upgrades, and everything from full-service repair bays to living quarters. If they inaccurately reported the value of their improvements, the insurance company would have no other choice but to value the trailer at manufacturer-stated value. So is the same in the custom vehicle world where built engines, one-off wheels, and immaculate interiors contribute to an inflated insurance value.
How do you know who to go with for an accurate appraisal? Some light research on the internet will produce a long list of appraisers that do not operate in the automobile space. Asking other custom vehicle owners can help, but doing some in-depth research will help identify who is most qualified to appraise your beloved custom. A quick search found Classic Auto Appraisers who employ an independent team with decades of experience, Auto Appraisal Group Inc who also offer a host of other services and the Bureau of Certified Auto Appraisers who offers both appraisals and insurance claims as well as offer other services. The previously listed companies came up quickly in an internet search and operate nationwide, but there are more than likely appraisers in your local area. Do the research, read up on your choice, and make your decision carefully. An appraisal can help, but their valuation process can lead to your vehicle being a little low, and if that happens you are always welcome to get another appraisal.
Getting a proper appraisal of your vehicle can be one of the most important steps taken to ensure that your insurance company will put the proper value on your vehicle to get accurate compensation in the case that worst happens. It will also give you the proper peace of mind knowing that your insurance company will be on the page as you when you tell them your beloved baby has gone missing or has been totaled.