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Old 10-01-2012, 06:06 PM   #1
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NADA values real?

Thinking about buying an Airstream ... looking at NADA and a lot of trailers are listed way above that value. What should I believe? Thanks Toot
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:22 PM   #2
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There has been much discussion on this subject. I can only speak from the perspective of my AS. From what I understand, NADA does not look at the market value of an Airstream. NADA calculates some flat rate of depreciation for all travel trailers. So Airstreams get classified with the same sort of depreciation rate that fast depreciating SOB's actually fall into. My particular Airstream year and model seems to typically list for close to double the NADA value. I'm not sure how the actual negotiated selling price typically correlates with the NADA value.

I am concerned that a major insurance claim would leave me with the insurance company attempting to pay me off at the NADA value. My insurance agent was less than clear on this issue. When I bought my AS, the market value of my old SOB and my AS were almost exactly the same, and yet, the insurance on my AS is double what I paid for the insurance on my SOB. My insurance agent could not explain that either. I'm shopping for another insurance company.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:34 PM   #3
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My experience is that insurance agents don't understand RV values and coverage from most companies for replacement is pretty bad after 5 years. I have also heard NADA undervalues RV's substantially.

Insurance companies talk about "agreed value" which seems to mean they tell you and you'd better agree, or else. If pressed, some may tell you they use the NADA numbers. They may throw around the term "replacement value", but it doesn't always mean what they claim. I went with Good Sam because they appear to pay you what you paid for the trailer regardless of how old it is.

Asking prices are also inflated—everybody thinks their trailer is worth more than it is, or they may be establishing a negotiating position. Bargain, know the limit to what you'll pay, and remember you'll be spending more on it updating it, fixing it and feeding the bottomless pit that RV's all come with.

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Old 10-01-2012, 07:38 PM   #4
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I do not think NADA is a real value if you really want to buy a older trailer to use. Probably real if the insurance company wants to use it. And as Gene pointed out the initial cost is often only part of the total package cost when you get it the way you want it.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:32 PM   #5
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It sure helps to have the same insurance agent for 22 years. As well, a really good driving, claims record with the company. We were able to insure ours for the initial purchase value. Then the improvements since we had all the documentation. Helped that it was purchased initially by someone locally, then sold locally so we were able to provide all relative ownership records. Also, we insured the contents, improvements (to date) that we have done.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:02 PM   #6
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Thanks, pretty much what I suspected. Toot
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:11 PM   #7
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If you are buying a preowned Airstream, insist on using NADA.
If you are selling an Airstream, insist on market value.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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NADA collects information from dealers who belong to NADA, regarding the sales of new and used vehicles. When they post a high retail or low retail figure, then someone, somewhere in the NADA network, actually paid that. Average retail values are calculated from all sales of that model.

Are the numbers real? Yes. Are they accurate? Not necessarily. Dealers who don't belong to NADA may not be counted, and so some dealer sales don't get cranked into the statistics. Private sales certainly are not included in the statistics.

The reason why depreciation is always so high in the first year is because of a misconception. The price paid by the customer is NOT the actual value. It's actual value PLUS dealer profit. Dealer profit adds nothing at all to the value of the unit. That's one of the reasons why it's worth less than you paid for it as soon as you drove it off the lot.

This information came to me from an auto dealer who belongs to NADA, that I went to school with. He may have dumbed it down for me (wise move if he did) and/or I might be misunderstanding or misremembering something he told me. So don't take this as gospel. But it does make sense as I remember it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:57 PM   #9
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But Remember...

... based on everything Protagonist just reported, NADA values do not capture that vast number of transactions among, private Airstream owners.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:11 PM   #10
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I had the same experience - The NADA value for my trailer is about 1/4 of market value. My home and auto insurance is USAA (love them) but they don't do RV's, and point you to Progressive.

When I spoke with Progressive they immediately looked up the NADA value.

What was interesting is I got no push back at all on getting them to insure for an agreed value higher than my purchase price - I'm now covered for $10k higher than what I bought the trailer for - taking into account all of the work I've done. I thought they would want documentation, pictures, a third party appraisal - nope, they just said, ok, and the monthly payment reflects the agreed value.

I was also very surprised how inexpensive the coverage was, even for quite low deductibles - given a dent seems like the most likely incident, and that would cost about 15 years worth of payments or more to repair.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:39 PM   #11
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Question If not NADA....

...how should I find out the value of a used trailer? NADA shows "retail" price which I assume is "dealer" price not "private" seller price. I am looking at buying an Airstream through a private seller. How do I know I'm paying a fair price?

I've read most of this thread but it hasn't covered how to explore pricing for a used trailer being sold by a private seller and I was hoping someone on this thread could help guide me to the best resource. Thanks every one!
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:07 PM   #12
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Sllvia', the problem is there isn't a lot of good information on trailer market values. I suggest reading the entire thread (it isn't very long).

Protaganist's post gives some good info on how NADA establishes prices. It has been stated on this Forum many times NADA undervalues RV's, but after reading Protaganist's post, I'm not so sure. Maybe NADA got a bad reputation from owners who thought their trailer was worth more—not an uncommon belief.

But information on private sales is not available. There are many models of Airstreams and not a lot of any one model on the market in any one year, so even if we had info on private sales, the statistics would be unreliable because of small samples.

So, it is guesswork. You can check NADA, Airstream dealer websites for used trailers, other RV websites and the Forum classifieds to find asking prices. New Airstreams are commonly said to be sold for 15-20% less than MSRP, so maybe used ones are too. My guess is the discount is less for used, especially from private sales.

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Old 11-22-2012, 08:32 AM   #13
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Thumbs up

Thank you, Gene! I appreciate the feedback! I am on the hunt and will be armed with more information - thanks to you!
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:31 AM   #14
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A couple years ago I had a total loss wreck with my 30' 1999 Airstream. I had stated the value for this vehicle on my policy at $25k. At first they (State Farm) wanted to pay me NADA value. After I emphatically told them I would not settle for that, I asked them to get three quotes for a similar replacement and I would settle for the average price of them. They could not find three of that model for sale, but this exercise educated my adjuster about the "market" value. In the end I came out ok, and settled at about double the NADA value, about $25k at that time.
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