Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Vehicle Inspector or Appraiser

Be sure to ask your vehicle inspector or appraiser these questions before you hire them for your inspection or appraisal needs.

Check for credentials – Ask them about what certifications they may have such as ASE, ICAR, and Appraisal Certification.  They should readily be able to answer this question about themselves and also provide you with an certificate.  At TDT your vehicle will be inspected and appraised by Steven Paul the owner of Test Drive Technologies. He has over 20 years of repair and vehicle inspection experience in both the automotive and HD equipment industries as well as past ASE certification and USPAP certified.

Who will be doing the work – Ask who will be inspecting the car, who will be performing the appraisal on the vehicle.  Some “appraisal” companies send out an inspector and then base their appraisal off the photos and information that inspector provides. DO NOT BE DUPED into thinking that this is a certified appraisal… It is NOT and will NOT stand up in court.  According to the USPAP standards the appraiser must be the one performing the inspection or their must be a statement made in the report saying it was based off of photos etc.  Also be on the lookout for companies that “utilize special software” to obtain values.  These are nothing more than programs that scalp online listings for year, make and model and a value and do not compare vehicles based on true condition.  This is doing the vehicle is a great disservice and results in a lower value overall.  At TDT our appraisals are performed by Steven Paul the owner of Test Drive Technologies. He is a certified vehicle appraiser with over 20 years in the automotive and HD equipment industries.

What is the appraisal based on – All vehicle appraisers are supposed to follow USPAP standards will writing an appraisal and most of us have templates we use that have the proper verbiage which holds up in court.  The issue comes up however, what different appraisers base their values off of when coming up with a value of the vehicle… Some appraisers use online data for comparables and interviews that can be backed up with documentation but some others use “experience” which is then based off their memory of other vehicles they have seen in the marketplace.  You should hire an appraiser that is both experienced in their field and has seen many vehicles and knows where to look for information but also an appraiser that is going to use online data and sources which can be cited within the report.  At TDT we make sure our appraisals are based on market research comparing vehicles of the same condition as well as auction data showing what the vehicle can sell for in a fair open market.

What will the inspection or appraisal report contain – Not all vehicle inspections and appraisals are the same when it comes to what the reports look like and the information they show.  Each vehicle appraisal report should always have a enough photos attached to the report to document the vehicle’s condition and options as backup.  Going a step further you can also have your appraiser provide all the photos taken during the appraisal inspection process thus having your own back up.  I normally take about 100 photos for an appraisal inspection sometimes more depending on the vehicle type and options included.  All of which I provide to our client.  Some vehicle appraisers also only provide you with the appraisal report with a basic breakdown of the vehicle’s condition.  If you are using an appraisal for pre-purchase you really need to have a pre-purchase inspection report plus the appraisal report. That way the FULL condition of the vehicle is documented and you know what you are about to purchase.  At TDT each of the vehicle’s we appraise come with a full inspection report as well as the documented appraisal.  Our pre-purchase inspections go a bit further than most standard appraisals being we provide about 200 photos along with your report.

What type of appraisal do I need – Your vehicle appraiser, if they are truly a certified appraiser, should be able to answer this question fully and explain why you need that particular type of appraisal.  Some terms you might know already such as Fair Market Value, Stated Value, Diminished Value and Total Loss Value appraisals is what some of their answers should contain. If you choose TDT we will be happy to walk you through the type of appraisal you may need for your situation.

To contact us for a vehicle appraisal or pre-purchase inspection please feel free to email us at or call / text us at 1-636-388-8378 and we will answer any question you may have at that time.

Thank you for reading our blog and best of luck in all your vehicle endeavours.