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Dealing with Auto Insurance Claims Adjusters

Dealing with auto insurance claims adjusters is not always a pleasant experience for auto insurance policy holders. Whether it's for a personal policy or something like dump truck commercial insurance, when you are working through a claim, you can't afford to be overly nice if you feel like you should be getting a little more money for your car than what the insurance company is offering you. Policy holders who understand the life of the claims adjuster and the way the insurance claims process works cab more effectively negotiate their way to a better deal on their claim settlement.

Insurance adjusters generally aren't bad people, nor are they out to "get" policy holders, as some people might suggest. They are not trying to rip customers off, either. In most cases these folks are way overworked and have a large number of cases to try to close each month, so in all reality a lowball offer from the adjuster probably just means she didn't have sufficient time to research the case properly before coming in with her number. But this is not the end of the world for customers who receive offers that they consider to be far below what their cars were worth. There is a certain amount of wiggle room built in to these offers, and adjusters are often authorized to up the offer in order to close the case and move on to the next one.

Total Loss and Theft Claims

Adjusters who work on vehicle total loss claims and cases with vehicles that were stolen and never recovered have the task of coming up with a numerical value for the loss in question, share that number with the policy holder and try to get them to accept it. Those who work in this part of the business report high rates of stress and job burnout, and some even end up being physically confronted by angry customers. Many are dealing with dozens of open cases all at once, so one can imagine the challenge of keeping up with all the cases and have the kind of knowledge they need to settle them for a fair figure.

After the liability has been settled and blame assigned for an accident, the auto insurance adjuster decides how much to pay the claimant for their loss or whether the vehicle was repairable given the damage it sustained. In many cases, the claimant is not happy with the figure offered because they usually believe their cars are worth more. When this occurs, adjusters prepare something called an evaluation report. What this amounts to is a comparison of the vehicle in question to a handful of other similar vehicles being used as references for the dollar amount.

Get a Better Settlement Offer

There are multiple ways policy holders can go about getting more money for their cars in these cases. According to some experts in the industry, one of the best ways is to find a reason to dispute the evaluation report. If you see the comparables and they don't seem to match up with your car in their mileage, condition, or other features, point that out and ask for different comparables. Or if there are more than a handful of comparables with quite a range in value, ask the adjuster to only use the top three or four. Not a lot of people realize that an evaluation report might have as few as two cars on it. Some adjusters will modify the contents of their report to raise the offer as a way to entice the claimant to settle the claim.

Some vehicles will come back with extremely low evaluation reports every time. For example, classic cars are bound to be evaluated incorrectly most of the time. When this happens, get your own comparables and bring them in to the adjuster to help the claims process along. Independent appraisers can also be used in some states to settle these types of disputes. But given the fact that they can charge hundreds of dollars for their services, the need for these specialists is very limited based on the type and value of the car and how far apart the two sides are on the evaluation report.

Get the Claim Closed

Claimants need to remember that the auto insurance claims adjusters want to settle just as badly as you do, and they are usually willing to bend a little to get a case closed. If you need to get a little more money for your online car insurance rate than their initial offer for a total loss, you probably can if you share some compelling reason why. And if you want them to total a car rather than fix it, present some things that could be wrong with it other than what they already found in preparing the estimate. Dealing with auto insurance claims adjusters just takes patience.


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