The Importance of Third Party Appraisal for Your Classic Cars

  • Appraisals are an important element in properly valuing your classic car
  • A thorough appraisal can help recoup both stated value and restorations in an insurance claim
  • A third party appraisal done yearly will help you realize the true value and appreciation of your classic car collection

At a recent barber shop appointment, the lady who cut my hair chatted with me about the 1969 Camaro Z28 she and her husband had taken on their first date back in the early 70’s. It was LeMans Blue with black vinyl interior, mated to a 302ci V8 engine. The fun and memories this car had for them were priceless. At one time it was a daily driver; later it had been painstakingly restored to its original glory.

This car-loving couple purchased an antique Pepsi machine, which was plugged into the garage where the prized Camaro resided. One day this same Pepsi machine burst into flame, and the fire regrettably also consumed the Camaro. They were heartbroken as I would be too! Any classic car enthusiast would be devastated.

But there was some good news that came from this scenario. This couple wisely had their Camaro appraised. Although the appraisal was done several years before the fire, they were able to use it to value the car for insurance purposes. Because of their foresight, they could be made financially whole for the value at which the Camaro had been appraised.

Not only were they able to claim a payout from their insurance provider for the replacement value of the Camaro, but they also received a payment for what they had spent for its restoration. Proper restorations can cost thousands, in both dollars and time, especially if you were the one who did the restorations. The peace of mind – and potential restorative payout from your insurance provider when something like this happens – is priceless.

The only real loss here, I’d suggest, is the Camaro’s appraisal hadn’t been updated in quite a while. A thorough appraisal offers a real-time value overview at the date of the appraisal, and justifies the insurance stated value of the car. This is assessed by current actual cash values of other similar cars, also taking into consideration any restoration receipts to support the valuation. In truth, the Camaro might have been valued even higher than it was, given its probable appreciation and the restoration work done.

It is important to update your appraisals, perhaps even yearly. I have seen an uptick in values of classic and collector cars, some of which are rising to record highs, including the first generation Camaro in our story. It is my personal prediction and opinion that popular classics will continue to rise. This increase in value can be very lucrative for the investor/owner and is much more easily recognized with a certified third party appraisal.

My new book, Drop, Throttle, Oversteer: Collecting & Investing in Classic Cars, is available at Amazon! 10% of the net sales go to Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies, a wonderful organization we are thrilled to support. If you’ve read and loved the book, please consider leaving an honest review. Reviews are the #1 way other enthusiasts find the book.

Jason Paynter is a classic car appraiser, collector and unabashed enthusiast. He lives in Louisville, KY with his beautiful wife and three sons who are (heaven help him) almost all of driving age. If you have questions for Jason, or need appraisal services, please contact him,


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