Appraiser Claims Betterment Wrongly Taken on Missouri Repairer's Estimate - BodyShop Business
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Appraiser Claims Betterment Wrongly Taken on Missouri Repairer’s Estimate

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Based on an analysis of the estimate of a repairer who stated that an
insurance company knocked $261 off paint and materials due to the age
of the vehicle repaired, one independent appraiser believes the insurer
wrongly took betterment.

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Last week, BodyShop Business reported that
Gary Powers, owner of GR Powers & Son in Joplin, Mo., was
shocked when Traders Insurance issued him a check that was short $261
for the repair of his dad’s 1998 Chevy Malibu.

“They said it was their policy to knock [paint and materials] off if the car is over 10 years old,” Powers said.

Shortly after the story ran, Powers sent a copy of the estimate to Bob
Smith, a licensed appraiser for Storm Appraisal & Management
Service in Odessa, Mo. Smith’s assessment was that Traders was wrong in
taking betterment, the legal definition of which is “an improvement
beyond normal upkeep and repair that adds to the value of real
property.”

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“Betterment was incorrectly taken on the repaired panel paint, which
seemed to be the $261 shortage on the estimate,” Smith said. “This
takes more away than if they had just figured a partial panel refinish,
which also would not have been a proper repair.”

Smith advised Powers on the definition of feather, prime and block and that it is a paint operation per the EPA 6H Rule and thus requires materials just as normal paint time.

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“Since per the procedure manual all paint times are calculated based on
a new, undamaged panel external surface only, the body technician will
stop in the 150 to 180 grit range and the painter (according to the EPA
6H Rule) has to bring the panel to a new condition by priming and
blocking to a minimum of 400 to 600 grit,” Smith said. “No information
provider automates this process, so it must be done by judgment
estimating on each vehicle.”

Smith manually noted a couple other items on the estimate, but admitted
that he could only make generalizations since he had not actually seen
the vehicle.  

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