Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week of March 17, 2014 Success Stories

This week we have two success stories!   

These client’s vehicles were written off in motor vehicle accidents.  They were unhappy with how much money insurance was offering them for their vehicles.  We were retained as third party appraisers and these are the outcomes!

Our client's 2013 Volkswagen Touareg was written off.  Due to our research and appraisal insurance increased their initial offer by approximately $13000.

The second client's vehicle was a 2005 Subaru WRX Sti with 100,000km.  Due to our research and appraisal our client received almost $4000 more than originally offered by insurance.

Our goal is to help you keep your money where you need it most, in your pocket.

If we can help please give us a call.

For more updates, please subscribe to our blog!

Our 100th Facebook like!

Thanks to Robert Zalaudek for being our 100th like on Facebook! For being our 100th like we have a prize for you! Please call us to redeem your free oil change up to a $100 value.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is accelerated depreciation insurance on the horizon for Canada?

It is March 2014 and still no accelerated depreciation / diminished value insurance in Canada.  In previous posts I had mentioned a launch of insurance by the end of 2013.  As you can see it did not happen.

Having said that, I am still working with an insurance company and insurance underwriter to offer this coverage.

I have asked realistic timelines and have been told the end of 2014.  I'll keep plugging away and updating you as news comes available.

Feel free to subscribe to our blog to keep updated!

If you have questions about accelerated depreciation please ask!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Challenging ICBC's appraisal of your vehicle after a total loss.

Did you know you can challenge ICBC's (or any other auto insurance companies) appraisal in the case of your vehicle being written off in an accident.

For the most part, ICBC uses Autosource when it comes to determining the fair market value of your vehicle in the case of a total loss.

Your VIN (vehicle identification number) is entered into a software which in turn searches the market for fair market value.  It has been my experience that the majority of these market evaluations are fair.  However there are situations where the valuation is inaccurate and you can challenge these claims.

I have seen several situations when the vehicles used in comparison are rebuilt status and not running.  (A rebuilt status is attached to vehicles that have been declared a total loss by insurance, purchased by a shop and then rebuilt) When doing a market analysis it is important to find similar vehicles to determine a value.

Another situation that Autosource cannot account for is when a vehicle has been heavily modified.  Being a Volkswage enthusiast I'll use VW as an example.

I had been retained by a client a few years ago, with a late 1990's VW Jetta.  This vehicle had been heavily modified, with a VR6 transplant (V6 engine), new suspension, interior and stereo.  When the VIN was entered in Autosource it was only able to locate similar unmodified VW Jetta's.  The value of these unmodified vehicles was a few thousand dollars less than this clients vehicle.

If you find yourself in the situation where your insurance companies assessment of your vehicles value seems low, please feel free to contact us.

We provide preliminary appraisals for $150 plus taxes.  This assessment determines if the value provided by insurance is fair.  In the case that it is, it cost $150 plus taxes for peace of mind.

In the situation where there is a noticeable difference in value we can provide a full appraisal for $350 plus taxes, plus CarProof (if necessary)

Safe Driving!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

What is the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia?

The Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia (VSA) is a regulatory agency authorized by the provincial government to administer and enforce the Motor Dealer Act, portions of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act as it relates to the sale of personal-use motor vehicles, and related regulations.

In other words, if you have purchased a vehicle through a dealership in the province of British Columbia and feel that you were mislead, this would be the organization that can help you.


Do you want to research the dealership or sales person you are dealing with to make sure they are in good standings with the MVSABC?


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What impact does your car have on the environment?

Every day we hear about the environment and global warming.  We hear about the choices we make having negative effects on the planet.  The question I always ask myself is what can I do?

I've come to realize that the first step is understanding the impact of my choices.  

This is tough for me because I've always prided myself on being a car guy.  I love huge horsepower but also realize that something I am so passionate about impacts our planet on such a large scale.  Its hard to accept that something I love has such a considerable impact on the planet. 

I decided to research the impact my own vehicle has on our planet.

My research led me to a couple fantastic websites that help me understand my impact.

Car carbon footprint calculator - This is the first calculator that helps you understand your entire carbon foot print. If you click on the car tab shown below and fill in the pertinent information, you can find your carbon footprint for your vehicle.

By driving 20,000km a year in my 2002 Volkswagen Passat with a 1.8litre Turbocharged 4 cylinder with a 5 speed manual transmission I produce 5.10 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Greenhouse gas Equivalencies Calculator - The second calculator converts the 5.10 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year into real life usage.  Input your vehicles carbon dioxide emissions into the first empty box on the "if you have your emissions data" tab.

What you will see is the actual impact driving your vehicle for an entire year has on the planet.  What you do with this knowledge is your choice, but understanding the impact of your choices is the first step to better choices.  

Bonus assignment :) - Multiply the results above by 250,000 vehicles.  This is a small percentage of how many cars are on the road.  One car on its own doesn't make a big difference, but hundreds of thousands makes a massive difference.

If you've enjoyed this post, please do me a huge favor and share it.  The more people who know the better. 

If you have other subjects you'd like me to research, please let me know.

And remember to subscribe to my blog!

Have you ever wondered how safe your car is?

Through researching vehicles over the last few years I stumbled upon this website http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings

The Insurance Institute for High Safety rates vehicles on a number of safety related issues.

This link will bring you to a page that will allow you to research your current or a potential new/used vehicle.

What is accelerated depreciation and why should you care?

Accelerated depreciation is what happens to the value of a vehicle after it has been involved in a car accident and then repaired.

Here is an example:

A client has a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan that was worth about $20,000 on the date of the accident.  The client was sitting at a stop light and was rear-ended by someone who was not paying attention.

The client and the offending driver go through the proper channels and report the accident to insurance.

Insurance in turn fixes the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan because its cheaper to fix the car as opposed to replacing it.  In this case the repairs cost $9,000.  The vehicle is fixed and returned to the client.

This 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is no longer worth the $20,000 because when going to sell the van the owner must disclose the $9,000 accident history.  This is accelerated depreciation.

In the province of British Columbia it is possible to recoup these losses.

The Fournier Auto Group provides the necessary assessments lawyers and clients need to recoup these losses.

If you have been in an accident and are concerned about your vehicles value, please call for a free consult.


Sign the petition to make Accelerated depreciation coverage part of car insurance


The purpose of this is to show insurance companies that people want to be covered for all of their losses in car accidents.  Sign the petition!

A reader asks the Globe and Mail about accelerated depreciation. Rob Fournier interviewed


Article published in Globe and Mail March 7, 2013 -

I own a 2009 Audi R8 V-8 that I purchased for $120,000 in January, 2012, with only 1,400 km on it. In July, 2012, I was involved in a low-speed accident where a motorcycle swerved into the side of my car, resulting in cosmetic damage to the passenger door and sideblade.
The police placed him 100 per cent “at fault” and charged him with a variety of offences. His insurance company covered all the repair costs and I ensured that my dealer and insurance company ordered all new parts from Germany rather than use putty and repair existing parts.


I am considering trading in the R8 for the more practical RS-5, but was told by two different dealerships that the trade-in value is now $85,000 as a direct result of the $14,000 Carfax that now shows against the car, rather than $100,000 they would normally offer for such a low-mileage 6MT R8. In the United States, there is a something called a “Diminished Value Claim;” however, I am being told by my insurer that in Canada there is no avenue to pursue such a claim against the other insurance company.
Should I push the insurance company? Consider small claims court? – James in Toronto
Simply put, through no fault of your own, you were sideswiped by another driver and insurance covered the cost to bring your car back to its former condition. But even though the damage is repaired, you’re left holding the bag: the resale or trade value of your vehicle is now reduced.
This diminished value is also known as “accelerated depreciation.” Depending on the make and model, and the quality of the repair, it can be in the hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. The sting won’t be felt, of course, unless you sell or trade the vehicle.
As you know, in some U.S. states insurers consider diminished value when adjusting an auto claim, and compensate the claimant after the vehicle is repaired. In Georgia, for example, it doesn’t even matter if the accident was your fault.
Mention diminished value to an insurance company in Canada, on the other hand, and you’re likely to receive a blank stare, silence, or flat-out denial of its existence. So, is there anything you can do to recover this loss?
“Accelerated depreciation is known as one of the largest hidden secrets in the car insurance industry.
Most people don’t know, but there are ways to get back your money; you can hire a lawyer or take it to small claims court. For the most part, they settle out of court, because the insurance companies don’t want precedent cases,” says Rob Fournier, owner of The Car Whisperers Automotive appraisal service.
Due to the high margin of lost value to your vehicle, odds are good that you’ll be able to find a lawyer to take your case on a contingency basis. They’ll take a percentage of whatever you win, or you can handle the matter yourself in small claims court.
Either way, you’ll want to present a report from an unbiased source on what the car was worth just before the accident, and what it’s worth now, repaired.
“When you go to a dealer, there’s an agenda. They’re going to give you the wholesale price. Obviously, they want to buy the car for low and sell it high, so they’re not going to give you an accurate representation of what the actual retail market of that car is,” says Fournier.
“They’re always going to offer you less than what you could get if you sold it privately. My experience has been the courts want to see the loss, as in the difference in actual retail market price.
The dealer’s numbers are often manipulated, and in my experience the courts don’t go by those numbers, because they understand that.”
When it comes to the way diminished value is handled in Canada, Fournier and others are working to increase awareness, and say change may be on the horizon. “An insurance company I’m working with is looking at offering this coverage at the end of this year, for the first time in Canadian history.”
Send your automotive maintenance and repair questions toglobedrive@globeandmail.com

Monday, March 3, 2014

Do it yourself - Suing for accelerated vehicle depreciation in BC Small Claims court

BC Injury Law shares how to sue for accelerated vehicle depreciation

Written by personal injury lawyer Erik Magraken of  MacIsaac and Company.
800-663-6299 or 250-381-5353

As I’ve previously written, when a vehicle is involved in a crash and is then repaired it is generally worth less than it would be had it not been damaged.  The reason for this is quite simple, when a buyer is looking to purchase a used vehicle, those that have previously been damaged and repaired carry a stigma.  This stigma generally results in a lower resale value.   You can click here to watch CBC’s Marketplace investigation highlighting this reality.

Although Defendants often are reluctant to acknowledge such a loss, the law in BC recognizes this lost value.  If your vehicle was damaged due the the actions of others you can sue to recover your damages for “accelerated depreciation“.

Often times the cost of hiring a lawyer to advance an accelerated depreciation claim can outweigh the amount of the recovery making it an unrealistic option.  So what can you do?
In BC the Small Claims Court has a current limit of $25,000.   This ceiling is adequate to cover all but the most serious of accelerated depreciation claims.  If you did not suffer a personal injury in your crash and your only loss is accelerated vehicle depreciaton bringing a self represented action in Small Claims Court is a viable option.
The Provincial Court has a useful website explaining the basics of starting a lawsuit.  You can click here to access information about filing your claim.

In addition to this, here are some of the key points to be aware of before getting started:

1.  The claim needs to be against the at-fault party.  The insurance company of the at-fault driver (such as ICBC) is the wrong party to sue.  Typically the action is brought against the driver of the at-fault vehicle along with the registered owner who is ‘vicariously liable‘ for damage caused by people who operate their vehicle with their consent.

2.  The Notice of Claim must describe a ’cause of action’.  In other words you have to sue for a recognized wrong.  Typically car crash   cases deal with ‘negligence’ that is, the at fault motorist caused the crash by careless driving.

3.  The resulting harm needs to be caused by the negligent action.  The Pleadings should reflect that the accelerated depreciation was caused as a result of the at-fault driving of the Defendant.

4.  The loss needs to be proven with admissible evidence.  It is not good enough to baldly suggest that a vehicle sustained an accelerated depreciation.  Some vehicles do not sustain any loss in value following a collision.  It is a good idea to retain a qualified expert to examine the vehicle, the repairs done and to then comment on what the vehicle’s lost value is compared to its natural depreciation at the time of the collision.  The expert should be prepared to come to court to testify as to his opinion and the expert’s report needs to be served in compliance with the Rules of Court.   While it does cost money to retain an expert it is worth keeping in mind that the Small Claims Court does have the discretion to order reimbursement of reasonable disbursements if the claim is successful making such expenses a worthwhile investment.
5.  You must bring your lawsuit in time.  If you wait beyond the applicable limitation period before starting your lawsuit the claim will be dismissed.

6.  If you have personal injuries but fail to sue for these and only claim for accelerated depreciation you may be barred from bringing a personal injury action later.  It is important to claim damages for all losses resulting from the crash.

Accelerated depreciation/diminished value in Canada

It has been over 5 years since I started helping people recoup the accelerated depreciation they suffered after a motor vehicle accident that was not their fault.

If you have questions or concerns about how much money you may have lost due to an accident that was not your fault.  Please feel free to reach out to me directly at 778-908-2804 or email at rob@rfautogroup.com

In 2011 CBC Marketplace produced a show focused on accelerated depreciation which I was interviewed for.  This show clearly explains what accelerated depreciation is.  Here is the link  -

CBC Marketplace Accelerated depreciation/diminished value

Discover Vancouver with Holly blogs about the Fournier Auto Group

Here is the link to the entire blog post enjoy :)

Discover Vancouver with Holly blogs about the Fournier Auto Group

I'd like to share my car buying expertise with you.

I've spent the last six years working as a buyer for consumers looking to purchase new and used vehicles.

There are so many important factors that unless you have worked in the auto industry, you would not be aware of.  My goal  is to share these tidbits of goodness with you, so you can be prepared when you buy your next vehicle.

Please use this website as a resource and if you questions please ask them!  I'd love to share my knowledge with you.