Being involved in a car accident that results in significant damage can be worrisome, especially when you know that you must file a claim and deal with an insurance company and an adjuster who will have major input with your claim. When you’re looking for fair compensation, there is the definite possibility of not receiving the full worth of your claim. When you are dealing with an adjuster who will do all that’s necessary to pay out the lowest amount for your claim, what can you do if you disagree with what the adjuster has determined? What if you don’t agree with the insurance adjuster? There are ways to negotiate with your insurance adjuster concerning your claim and here are a few of the value in the negotiation process.
Your Vehicle’s Value
When you know the real value of your vehicle, you will be better able to negotiate with your insurance company. After an accident, your vehicle will be under the guise of a claims adjuster who will figure the worth of your vehicle and the cost of repairs. Whatever type of claim you submit, you will either deal with your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance provider. No matter the claim, the adjuster will unlikely pay out the full worth of your claim, but when you know your vehicle’s value, you should be able to determine whether you are getting a fair deal. In that case, you want to get estimates together to determine your vehicle’s worth. That can be done through sources, such as:
- Your own trusted certified mechanic
- Other trusted certified mechanics
- Websites that deal in car value estimates
- Autotrader – Valuation Tool
- Kelley Bluebook – Blue Book Value refers to the value of a vehicle
- Edmunds – generally provides an accurate price for a vehicle through their appraisal tool
- NADA Guides
- VIN Number search valuation
Whatever figure an adjuster finally gives you does not obligate you to accept it, particularly after you know the true worth of your vehicle through the estimates you receive from a mechanic, dealership or other sources. If the offer you are given is below the value and estimates, you’ll need to initiate negotiations with the insurance company.
Instead of legally contesting a claim amount and making your way to court, you can negotiate with the insurance company. They’re not eager for a claim to end up in court anymore than you are or the other driver.
What to Do
You must get the adjuster to explain the details of the offer made. After considering their justification behind the offer, you’ll want to counter what they have said. You want to remember and know that a trained adjuster will come up with insurance legalese and reasoning behind their estimates.
With a counteroffer on your claim, you’ll want to have both high and low settlement figures that you can deal with in your negotiations. The high and low figures should correspond with the estimates you got on your vehicle through your mechanic or internet sources. When you continue on in your negotiations, you’ll want to deal effectively with the advantages and disadvantages of what the insurance company and the adjuster are making with their offer.
Your Vehicle’s Value and the Betterment Term
An adjuster can use increased value or betterment of your vehicle as ways to either reduce the payment to you or charge you for any value increase. When you have an older vehicle that requires new parts to repair it, your vehicle will have more value than it did before the accident. If you have increased the value of your vehicle or made it better, it will be difficult to ask for a higher reimbursement on your claim. To counter your insurance carrier’s betterment charge, you’ll want to provide proof that any new parts didn’t add to the value of your vehicle. You may have to get testimony from your mechanic or a witness to prove that additional parts did not increase your vehicle’s value.
The state you live in will determine the value of your claim, as will the person at fault in an accident. Any payouts from claims that involve property damage or injuries will depend on the driver at fault in the accident, and that will hinge on the state where the accident occurred. For example, in the state of California, any payouts are proportional. The amount of fault you had in the accident will determine compensation, whether it was 10 percent or 75 percent.
With negotiations, any insurance company will want to prove that you were more responsible or at-fault in an accident that involves a payout. In countering that, you’ll want to provide as much information as you can with photos, videos, police reports and any witness testimony. Any solid evidence that comes into play will be of proof in your innocence.
Other Points for a Higher Claim Value
There are other points in the negotiating process that can be of help in gaining a higher claim value. Emotional factors come into play with simple photos or images of damage to your car and the turmoil it’s taken on your everyday life, particularly when it involves getting back and forth to work, running errands, carpooling for your children or getting an older adult to medical or other appointments.
Most importantly, organize the counter-arguments you want to make. Consider them carefully and make them accessible in notes to yourself or input them to a device for retrieval. Reviewing your arguments will allow you to go forward and press for a settlement that goes above the lower amount that the adjuster originally gave you. If you can’t come to terms with negotiating with an adjuster or simply don’t have the time or the ability, you may want to hire legal help to settle your claim in an amount that’s agreeable to you. Also, proving who was at fault can be a tricky situation, so you may need legal advice with that as well.
Once negotiations have reached the point of settlement and all parties involved are in agreement with the final outcome, the offer needs to be confirmed in writing for all parties. The agreement doesn’t have to be lengthy. Just provide sufficient detail in terms that outline the total amount of the settlement and what will be used in the repair process.
When you don’t agree with your insurance adjuster, negotiating with the right strategies is one way to gain a fair settlement; however, if you’re unsure of the procedures involved in the negotiating process, go ahead and fill out the online contact form and a representative will get back to you with the answers you need to negotiate a fair settlement on your claim.