How do I value my vehicle?

by Rachel Lynn Foley, Esq.

April 29, 2007

If you are determining the value of a piece of land you think of location, location, location. When you determine the value of a vehicle you think of details, details, details. The first thing I have my clients do is go down to the local CarMax Dealer . Why? Because they will provide a free written estimate of what the car is worth. While at CarMax you point out everything that is wrong with the car such as the pinging noise under the hood, the dent from running over the deer or backing into the pole, the gift your 2 year old left behind when McDonald’s did not agree with him, etc… The reason is that these factors may lead to decreasing the value of your car.

When you decrease the value of your car you increase the chance that the car will be protected under the exemptions for your state. YOU MAY NOT LIE TO DEVALUE THE CAR! However you can point out details as to why you do not agree with the Kelly Blue Book or NADA valuation of you car. Most states will use either Kelly Blue Book or NADA to value your car, so it is up to you to provide as many details as possible to your attorney so that a proper valuation may be made.

Things to provide include but are not limited to: VIN, mileage, history of problems/repairs, body damage, wear and tear such as rust or peeling paint, damage from animal collisions, or interactions with small children or pets who leave presents in your vehicle, etc… All these factors assist your attorney in protecting your vehicle during the bankruptcy.

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Former Bankruptcy Attorney to the Kansas City UAW: Ford and GM workers, now assisting the general public in Missouri and Kansas with regaining financial control using the Bankruptcy Code. 816-472-HELP (4357).

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Last modified: December 13, 2007