Everyone dreads being involved in an accident. However, once they happen, the victims should immediately file a claim and seek monetary compensation as guaranteed by their insurance policy that they faithfully pay. Below explains how to best understand and work with insurance claim adjusters.
Understand the Claim Adjusters’ Background
First, understand that there are different kinds of insurance claim adjusters. There are adjusters who inspect property damage, vehicle damage appraisers who inspect cars after accidents and claims examiners who review documentation and evidence. There are also insurance investigators who deeply probe into clients who they suspect are guilty of fraudulent or criminal actions. However, most people will deal with a car or home claim adjuster. They must determine whether the insurance policy covers the claim and if so, what the appropriate payment should be. They will perform research, gather information, negotiate settlements and authorize payments.
The Vehicle Claims Process
A person who is in a car accident may deal with the three different types of adjusters. There may be one to investigate personal injuries, one for property damage claims and one for vehicles that are totaled. However, most minor car accidents will involve an initial investigator who will perform a comprehensive assessment. Upon receiving the claim, the adjuster will enter the data into their software program so they can prepare their report paperwork. After a few days of receiving the report, they will contact the claimant and perform a short review of the incident and schedule a face-to-face interview. If there are any injuries, the adjuster will ask for written release of the related medical records. However, there is no law that requires an immediate, in-depth report of the accident. Therefore, claimants should take their time to gather their thoughts, write out a detailed narrative and consult with an attorney if necessary.
The Vehicle Repair Process
Adjusters will require an estimate from a reliable repair shop. Claimants should ideally take their car to the dealer or a shop that offers high quality repairs. A car dealer will most likely charge higher amounts than the adjuster is willing to pay, but it is better than going to a small shop with limited experience and mediocre repair quality. When negotiating with an adjuster, the claimant should be firm and persistent while avoiding being demanding and confrontational. Keep in mind that claims adjustors most likely have a heavy case load and are under deadlines with complex paperwork. Therefore, claimants who are disagreeable may experience bureaucratic loopholes that reduce their claim amount or even deny their claim.
Overall, claimants should understand that adjusters will attempt to minimize costs while resolving the claim. Therefore, claimants should perform research, ask the right questions and cooperatively work with their adjuster to successfully process the claim.