Diminished Value - Classic - Antique - Exotic - Motorcycle - Hot Rod


Serving most of Maryland (west of the bay)

Eastern West Virginia 

North central Virginia

South central Pennsylvania

About Me


My Background

"I suppose I fell in love with cars when I first released the clutch while pushing the gas." says Jim Connolly. "Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect my love of cars and ridiculous speed would become such a rewarding and fulfilling vocation. Certainly, I love what I do and am very proud of my success."

A local dealership owner said;

"Jim has been a popular fixture in the East Coast Auto Appraisal scene. He is well respected, knowledgeable, honest, and fair-minded. Soon after he graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Automotive Engineering Jim earned his reputation in the industry."

Diminished Value Reports, Classic, Antique, Exotic, Motorcycle, Hot Rod car values and Pre-purchase Inspections are his specialties.

What I can do

Diminished Value Report


Let’s assume you were shopping for a late model used vehicle. You come upon a dealer who has 2 identical vehicles that match what you are looking for. These vehicles are the same year, make and model. They have the same mileage and options. They appear to be in the same general condition. The sticker price for both vehicles is $20,000. You ask the dealer if either vehicle has ever been wrecked and Carfax or AutoCheck indicates one of the vehicles had sustained $6,500.00 in collision damage. Would you still give equal consideration to each vehicle?  Many people don’t think about the new, lower value of their vehicle in the aftermath of an accident. Instead, we just worry about how long it’s going to take for the body shop to fix the darn car so we can get back to our lives. If you have a newer vehicle or an expensive one, you must ask to be compensated for diminished value.

The insurance company won’t offer. Insurance companies try to avoid paying for diminished value. It’s important to pursue a diminished value claim right away, because most states have a statute of limitations on property damage claims, often three years.  The amount of the Diminished Value is dependent upon a number of factors, such as the vehicle’s pre-loss condition; the vehicle’s year, make and model; the type of accident the vehicle was in; the amount of damages the vehicle suffered; and other such contributing factors. We help determine the diminished value of your vehicle.

See the local Diminished Value Rules, by state, a little further down this page.

Collector Vehicle Value


The popularity of collector vehicles has never been higher. Some collectors spend months, even years, and several thousand dollars to build or restore their dream car only to find out their insurance company only offers coverage equal to the "Book" value. Most insurance companies will offer Stated Value Policies, but they will require an independent appraisal. Based upon the documents and information, you provide, we can establish the Actual Cash Value of your pride and joy to properly protect your investment.  There are a wide range of selling methods like E-Bay, Craig’s List and other internet auction sites, and the recurring Barrett-Jackson and Mecum auctions that sometimes result in inflated prices. When insuring your collectible car, it can be confusing to determine the proper amount of coverage. We can assist in your decision !  We are professionally trained to inspect/appraise cars and have access to tools through N.A.D.A. We thoroughly inspect your documents and images, we compile a report with details documenting the condition and the "Actual Cash Value" of your vehicle.

Estate / Bankruptcy / Divorce


These types of appraisals are usually mandated by some sort of judicial process or are required on the advice of legal counsel and are often time sensitive. We can provide an independent appraisal to help you establish the minimum market value of vehicles which could save thousands of dollars on taxes or settlements.

Total Loss Appraisal


Unsatisfied with an insurance company's valuation on your loss? There may be a big difference between the settlement offer and the "Actual Cash Value" of your vehicle! You are entitled to a fair settlement. You are always entitled to enlist an independent appraisal when negotiating with any insurance company.

Pre-Purchase Inspection


Do not buy that car you saw online or at one of those supposed "Classic Car" dealers without having it inspected first. The cost of the inspection could save you thousands in surprises or on the price negeotiations. 

I am not Superman. I cannot see through sheet metal, but I know cars as well as anyone and can tell trash from treasure. 

Online Products


Diminished Value Reports and most Appraisals are available as online products.

 Order services at the bottom of this page. I will contact you with details on the information I will need from you.

Seller Services


I will research recent sales of vehicles similar to yours to correctly determine the "real" value of the vehicle. I'll market the vehicle via social media links, list it on E-Bay and any other relevant online platform. If needed I'll have the vehicle transported to one of the local weekly reserve auctions. I will exercise every available opportunity to sell your vehicle and save you all of the headache.

Auction Proxy Service


I can represent you as a buyer or seller at any auction anywhere. I've been an auction proxy for over 30 years and have conducted hundreds of transactions.

If the car you want is being auctioned, and you cannot be there, I'll go in your place, look the vehicle over and bid up to the price you dictate.

Estate / Charity Sales


I will work with the estate principals or the attorney to liquidate the vehicle (s) as fairly and quickly as possible.

I will sell the vehicle and remit the proceeds to the charity you desire.

Diminished Value Rules by State


 Maryland is a diminished value state, which means you may be entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle after an auto accident. The statute of limitation on diminished value claims in Maryland is 3 years, and Maryland does have uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value. You can't submit a Maryland diminished value claim if you were the at-fault party in an accident, or if the damage was caused by something other than a collision. 


  Virginia is a diminished value state, which means you may be entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle after an auto accident. The statute of limitation on diminished value claims in Virginia is 5 years, and Virginia does have uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value. You can't submit a Virginia diminished value claim if you were the at-fault party in an accident, or if the damage was caused by something other than a collision. 

West Virginia

 West Virginia is a diminished value state, which means you may be entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle after an auto accident. The statute of limitation on diminished value claims in West Virginia is 2 years, and West Virginia does have uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value. You can't submit a West Virginia diminished value claim if you were the at-fault party in an accident, or if the damage was caused by something other than a collision. 


 Pennsylvania is a diminished value state, which means you may be entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle after an auto accident. The statute of limitation on diminished value claims in Pennsylvania is 2 years, and Pennsylvania does not have uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value. You can't submit a Pennsylvania diminished value claim if you were the at-fault party in an accident, or if the damage was caused by something other than a collision. 

Diminished Value Stories from the web

Diminished Value Claim Experience

 Here's the story: I live in a state that allows for diminished value claims and was rear ended around the beginning of December, other driver's fault. He was insured with Nationwide. My car is currently listed on used car websites for around 20k and the damage totaled a little over 7k. There was no major frame damage, it was all cosmetic. The other drivers insurance paid for it directly and the work looks very good, I cant tell anything was done to the car.

Anyways after getting the car back I sent an email to their claims specialist stating that I wanted to file a diminished value claim due to the fact that the car now shows an accident on its record and was therefore worth less. A few hours later I got a call from a new person that handles diminished value claims. They stated that they would get back to me in about a week with an offer on the car. A few days later they offered $1500 and explained what factors go into that amount.

I talked to the dealer I bought it from and they said that an accident on the record of a car usually lowers its value by about 10%. So I emailed the diminished value claims specialist back stating that comparable cars are listed for 19-20k and I'd like to receive about 10% of the value of the car so $2000. The next day she said that they accept that offer and would be mailing a check with some paperwork to sign. And that's where I'm at today.

Did I leave money on the table? I don't know but I plan on keeping this car until its worth about $2k or less so it seemed fine to me. I had no interest in paying for a proper diminished value appraisal and having a long drawn out negotiation with threats of small claims court. A bird in the basket is worth 2 in the bush or something like that right? Most online research indicated to be ready for a fight with the insurance companies but maybe since they have been losing in court they realize that its now cheaper to make slightly more reasonable offers instead of low balling. 

I got some more info from an adjuster

 My wreck was not my fault (I was parked at the time) so I am dealing with the other driver's insurance. Also, there was obviously no personal injury so things are simpler.

I just finished talking to folks at my insurance to get a feel for gereral protocol. I've also talked to several appraisers that I will have to deal with as I proceed. The outlook is good.

First, most insurance companies have specific language in their policies to not pay diminished value on your car if you are responsible for an accident.

However, if I am in an accident and it is my fault, my insurance will pay for diminished value for the other driver's vehicle but the other driver has to ask for it. They will require the other driver to get an appraisal which will cost the owner several hundred dollars that is not re-imbursable, and negotiations start from there. For the vast majority of cars on the road, the diminshed value you might get is not much more than the appraisal fee. In my case, it is substantial.

Given this policy for my insurance company, I plan to ask the other driver's insurance for diminished value. If they refuse, I will take the other driver to small claims court and represent myself. In my experience, small claims court bends over backwards to give folks like me the benefit of the doubt if a bunch of lawyers show up for the other driver. I will present in evidence 2 appraisals and a statement from my insurance company of what they would do in this situation. I think this will be a slam-dunk and the other drivers insurance will have to pay court costs and perhaps even my appraisal fees. I don't have a lot of experience with small claims court but I have found that insurance companies want to settle after their client has been served with a summons to appear in court for a suit.

Given the information I have, I also don't think I have to worry about my suit being declared frivolous and be responsible for the defendant's attorney costs. So the most I will lose is about $400 in appraisal fees and court cost. 

Fighting ’til the bitter end!

 Amber had a fight on her hands after getting injured and suffering substantial property damages due to the negligence of another driver and yet she was STILL put through the ringer by the insurance company, even with an attorney on her side!   After submitting our diminished value report, she got a denial, which, like I said, is typical for this company.  Her attorney used our report and ended up putting her diminished value demand in with her injury in court and she settled for an amount that she felt was fair after much fight.  We see this often with a few of the bigger insurance companies and there is no “easy street” to coast down to get your claim settled.  Sometimes it takes digging in your heels and fighting for what you KNOW you are owed and hiring professionals that have the same mission you do.  Amber surrounded herself with a team that had her best interest at heart and she hobbled away with $3,000 and a little relief. 


If your attorney isn’t willing to point you in the right direction to get help with your property damage, GET A NEW ATTORNEY!  We work with lots of auto accident victims referred to us by attorneys who know the work we do and the results we have produced.

Audi A6 Diminished Value

 Scott’s Audi A6 Diminished Value success story is the kind we love to brag about! His repair shop sent him our way because they shared our same mission – to help auto accident victims get justice!  We took a look at his case and he was definitely owed a substantial amount of diminished value on his clean 2012 Audi A6 Quattro Premium.

 We inspected Scott’s Audi A6 and found that he was owed around $7300!  He submitted our USPAP diminished value report and had to be patient while his adjuster was out on vacation.  After waiting a week, one phone call to the adjuster did the trick and Scott became one of our latest diminished value success stories! 

 When you hire a trusted expert to be on your side, especially after a referral from a repair pro, you are likely to end up with a fair settlement with a little follow up and fight if you make sure to research the expert and ask the right questions (which we give on our website here).  Even when you get a denial initially, adjusters will often start offering something if you can provide the right argument.  Scott can attest to the fact that reasonable adjusters DO exist and settle their claims ethically and fairly 

Been in a Car Wreck?


Here's something I wish I had known about when another driver plowed into my car, a car that was only five months old: diminished value.

The other driver's insurance company paid to fix my vehicle, but just the fact that it had been in an accident diminished its value. Rightly so. It was no longer as sound. One former general manager says his dealership used to automatically offer 30 percent less for a trade-in if it had frame damage.

 But it wasn't my fault. When I went to sell the car, the pros easily could tell that it had been wrecked and rebuilt. That other driver -- or her insurance company -- should have paid me for that. I couldn't get as much for the car, so I didn't have as much to put toward my next car.

Many people don't think about the new, lower value of their vehicle in the aftermath of an accident. Instead, we just worry about how long it's going to take for the body shop to fix the darn car so we can get back to our lives. If you have a newer vehicle or an expensive one, you must ask to be compensated for diminished value.

The insurance company won't offer. Insurance companies try to avoid paying for diminished value.

 It's important to pursue a diminished value claim right away, because most states have a statute of limitations on property damage claims, often three years.

Most insurance contracts prevent you from making a diminished value claim against your own insurance company. Where you may succeed is by going after the other driver's insurance company because you don't have a contract with them. Plus, the whole point is that the accident wasn't your fault, right?

If the other driver's company resists, consider small claims court to collect diminished value. It should be a fairly easy case to prove: What was your car worth before the crash? How much less is it worth now because it was in an accident ??

Money for the diminished value of your property


Q: I had a wreck in January and I had only had my car a couple of months. It was brand new and the damage was around $10,000.00. They did not total my car but repaired it. Now, the insurance company wants to settle and I asked the adjuster about diminution in value and he said that wasn’t a law.

David, Tuscumbia, AL

A: I am sure that certain insurance companies have contracts with their insureds’ that specify what they will and will not pay. If you are making a claim against your insurance company for collision or comprehensive damage to your own vehicle, the contract (that you haven’t seen or read) between you and your insurance company will define what their obligation to pay is and is not.

If you are making a claim against someone else who negligently caused damage to your car and their insurance company is trying to tell you what the law is, don’t believe them.

The law of damages in Alabama is simple and straight forward and exactly what you think it should be. If someone through carelessness or negligence damages property that you own, you are entitled by law to the value of the property prior to the damage.

Everyone reading this, if given the choice between two identical cars except that one had been wrecked and the other not, would choose the car had not been wrecked. We all know that if you trade in a car that has been previously damaged, it is worth less as a trade in.

What you are really looking at is an issue of evidence and proof. If you can by the testimony of an experienced car salesperson or automotive appraiser, provide competent evidence of how much less your car is worth in its wrecked, repaired condition then the Court should award that amount of money for the diminished value of your property

Auction Stuff

A New Dealer Auction


 DRIVE Auto Auctions is the premier online wholesale vehicle auction service for dealers and business buyers. DRIVE Members with business licenses can bid worry-free with DRIVE’s arbitration policy and industry-standard lighting system. DRIVE Auto Auctions held its first live online wholesale auto auction in early 2018 and continues to prove itself as the leading source for clean title, front line cars, trucks and SUVs

Baltimore Auction


 Auto Auction of Baltimore is opened to the public. As Maryland’s leading public auto auction we are committed to providing a fair and easy buying experience for your new car, truck or SUV at wholesale prices. With our GOOD ENGING & TRANSMISSION GUARANTEE on every vehicle you will have peace of mind. Come check us out, you won’t be disappointed.

Capitol Auction


 Capital Auto Auction hosts weekly live auctions at each of our four locations, as well as online. Whether you attend a live auto auction or an online auto auction, you'll find quality used vehicles listed at the kind of bargain prices that typically only dealers see. Our vehicles may be repossessions, dealer consignments, government vehicles or donations. In every case, they are auctioned openly to the public so it's easy for customers to find or sell the vehicles they need. What's more, it's not just individual cars that we work with, either; through a fleet auto auction, you have a way to quickly dispose of fleet vehicles you no longer need. 

ABS Auction


 ABS Auto Auctions is an Automotive Wholesale Auction Company specializing in the remarketing of New Car Dealer trade-ins and frontline inventory through the use of three distinct auction programs  



 Averaging more than one auction each month in various cities around the country, Mecum Auctions has achieved exceptional reach and prolific recognition by collector-car enthusiasts nationwide, as well as around the world. Making the Mecum Experience as accessible as possible has always been a core company value and a continuous goal across the board, and the Mecum Mobile Experience has proved to be a valuable supplement to the auction events by providing additional company exposure and relevant, useful resources to car enthusiasts. 



 For the last 47 years, enthusiasts from all over the world have flocked to the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions. Widely regarded as a barometer of the collector car industry, the auctions have evolved over the years into world-class automotive lifestyle events where thousands of the world’s most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles cross the block in front of a global audience — in person and on live national and international television. Barrett-Jackson produces The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions® in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to the millions watching the events via live worldwide television coverage on Discovery Channel and Velocity, over 500,000 people are in attendance at all four auctions, looking to witness auction action at its best, capture the car of their dreams, learn more about collector cars through Behind the Hobby symposiums, mingle with celebrities, experience adrenaline-pumping thrill rides in the latest vehicles from America’s top automakers – or shop in the vast Exhibitor Marketplace. 

Some of these are funny


Duck Truck


A policeman pulls over an old man in a pickup truck because the bed of his truck is full of ducks. The officer says, “Sir, it is unacceptable to have this flock of ducks downtown, take them to the Zoo this instant!”

The old man confirms that he will and drives off. The next day the officer sees the same man in the same truck still full of ducks. Only this time all the ducks are wearing sunglasses. The officer pulls him over again and yells, “I told you to take these ducks to the Zoo!”

The old man replies, “I did! But now the little buggers want to go to the beach!”

Stop when you see the cop


An man buys a sports car and is really beginning to enjoy it when he sees flashing lights in the rear view mirror. He guns it and is rapidly up to 160mph when he realizes what he is doing. He slows down, then pulls over and soon the cop pulls up behind him.

The cop comes up to the window and asks, “What were you thinking, taking off like that?”

“Well,” the man replies after thinking about it for a bit, “a few years ago a highway patrol officer ran off with my wife.”

“What does that have to do with anything.”

“I thought you were bringing her back.”

I just wanna go faaast

 So there’s this snail, and he’s really tired of being slow, so he goes to the nearest Renault dealer and buys one. He has them paint a big red S on the side, (for Snail) so everyone will see him and, marveling at his new speedier lifestyle, exclaim “Sacré bleu! Look at that S-car-go!” 

Let’s celebrate!


I remember reading this one around the time the Berlin Wall came down...

An extremely rich and famous German sports star was carving up the roads one afternoon in a brand new Porsche. Passing on the right, speeding everywhere, he takes a blind corner at speed and plows into the back of a Trabant, sending them both spiraling into a ditch. Both cars are demolished. The sports star hops out of the twisted wreckage of his Porsche, to see an elderly man climbing out of the Trabant with a jubilant smile on his face. The sports star asks the gentleman if he’s okay, if he’s in shock. The gentleman raises his arms and says “No! This is fantastic! Let’s celebrate! We’re both alive!” He opens what’s left of his Trabant’s door to see a box of Cuban cigars. “What a miracle! Such an impact, and my treasured cigars are okay! Let’s light them and celebrate our good luck!” So the sports star and the gentleman light up, and smoke their cigars. The gentleman looks back inside, and sees his vintage bottle of Scotch and two glasses, and pulls them out. “A toast to us! Such a horrific accident and we made it through without a scratch!” He pours two very tall glasses of Scotch, and hands one to the sports star. They clink their glasses, and the sports star downs his. He looks at the gentleman, standing there with a still-full glass. “Aren’t you having any?” he asks the gentleman. “Oh no, not until the police give you a breathalyzer.”

Words, they mean things


Why do chicken coupes have 2 doors?

Because if they had 4 doors they’d be a chicken sedan

“More than you can afford, pal.”


A hip young man goes out and buys a 2001 Ferrari 360 Spider. It is the best convertible sports car, costing about $250,000. He takes it out for a spin and while stopping for a red light, an old man on a moped, wearing an open face crash helmet (looking about 70 years old) pulls up next to him.

The old man looks over the sleek, shiny red surface of the car and asks, “What kind of car ya’ got there, sonny?” The young man replies, “A 2001 Ferrari 360 Spider. They cost about a quarter of a million dollars!”

“That’s a lot of money,” says the old man, shocked. “Why does it cost so much?” “Because this car can do over 200 miles an hour!” states the cool dude proudly. The moped driver asks, “Can I take a look inside?” “Sure,” replies the owner.

So the old man pokes his head in the window and looks around. Leaning back on his moped, the old man says, “That’s a pretty nice car, all right!”

Just then the light changes so the guy decides to show the old man what his car can do. He floors it, and within 30 seconds the speedometer reads 220 mph. Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rear view mirror. It seems to be getting closer!

He slows down to see what it could be and suddenly, whhhoooossshhh! Something whips by him, going much faster! “What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?!” the young man asks himself.

Then, ahead of him, he sees a dot coming toward him. Whoooooosh! It goes by again, heading the opposite direction! And it almost looked like the old man on the moped!

“Couldn’t be,” thinks the guy. “How could a moped outrun a Ferrari?!” Again, he sees a dot in his rear view mirror! Whooooosh Ka-BbblaMMM! The moped plows into the back of his car, demolishing the rear end. The young man jumps out, and it IS the old man!!! Of course, the moped and the old man are hurting for certain. He runs up to the old man and says,

“You gotta tell me how you got that thing to be faster than my Ferrari !” The old man looks up and replies, “OK..., but first, unhook my suspenders from your side-view mirror, will ya?”



Looking for the accident


I was walking down the street today when tow truck driver pulled up alongside me and said, “Excuse me, I’m looking for the accident site involving a van carrying a load of cutlery.”

“No problem,” I said. “Go straight down this road for 1 mile, then take the first left, and when you get to the fork in the road you’re there.”

Yugo forever.

 Guy walks into an auto parts store and says to the counterman “I’d like a set of wiper blades for my Yugo.” Counterman thinks for a minute, then replies “OK - sounds like a fair trade to me.” 

Painting job, actually.

 One day a blonde comes up to a man’s door and asks him if he has any odd jobs. The man says “I’ll give you $50 to paint the porch out back.” The blonde goes to work and after 30 minutes, she comes back, and tells the man she is done. “Wow, that was fast,” the man says. The blonde replies, “yes, I know, but that wasn’t a porch. It was a Ferrari.” 

22 miles per hour!?


A State Police Officer sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to himself “this driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!” So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.
Approaching the car, he notices that there are four old ladies — the three passengers are wide eyed and white as ghosts.
The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I don’t understand, I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”
The officer replies, “Ma’am, you weren’t speeding, but you should know that driving much slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”
“Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly... Twenty-two miles an hour!” The old woman says, pointing to a sign next to the road.
The State Police officer, trying to contain a chuckle explains to her that the sign was the route number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.
“But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask... Is everyone in this car OK? Your passengers seem awfully shaken and they haven’t muttered a single peep this whole time,” the officer asks.

“Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute officer. We just got off Route 119.”



I had an uncle who had the most bizarre fixation back in the day- he would drink brake fluid. Maybe back in those days it was less toxic than it is today, because he never expired of it, but we were always worried about him doing it.

I remember one time my dad told him that he was addicted and needed to cut it out, that it was bad for him.

My uncle replied “Nonsense, I can stop anytime.”

And the mechanic’s name is Tony.


Dominick picks up his Fiat from his mechanic Tony. Tony says, “Dominick, you gotta think about trading this car in. It seems like it’s breakin’ down every other week. I love having you as a customer but this car is costing you a fortune.”

“Yeah, but look at it,” Dominick says. “It’s starting to rust, the tires are almost bald, and it’s got like 90,000 miles on it. Nobody’s gonna give me any money for a Fiat with 90,000 miles on it.”

“Tell you what I can do,” Tony says. “This is just between you and me, but I could roll back your odometer. That way you could maybe get at least a few hundred bucks for it.”

Dominick agrees and gives Tony $20 to roll back the odometer.

Two weeks later Dominick comes by and asks Tony to top off the oil on the Fiat. Tony looks at the car and says, “I thought you was gonna trade this car in. What are ya doin’ still driving it??”

“Trade it in??” says Dominick. “Are you nuts? This car’s only got 30,000 miles on it!”

Good vs Evil

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exotic car crash

Redneck Car Repair Fails

Female stunt driver plays 'dumb blonde' on blind dates

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Local (within 1/2 hour of Hagerstown)

Basic Appraisal $150.

Diminished Value Report $175.

Specialty Appraisal $225.

Pre-purchase inspection $275.

Online services $100.

Excess mileage (more than 30) billed @ $1. per mile

Auto Appraisal

Hagerstown, Maryland 21740, United States

(301) 852-6610


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