From photos of the accident scene to the a collection of quotes detailing how much it will cost to fix or replace your vehicle, it is often up to you to convince the car insurance company of the actual amount of compensation you deserve.
Read on to learn the details of how to fight a low auto insurance claim payment and then be sure to enter your ZIP code above for a FREE online car insurance comparison!
Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork
A detailed paper trail will help substantiate your car insurance claim. Once your original claim has been met with the promise of a payment you deem insufficient, it is time to put your dispute in writing.
This letter should include:
- The details of the claim.
- The reasons you are seeking a higher payment.
- All supporting documentation.
Examples of documentation include statements from the police and the other driver(s), photos of the scene, and quotes from several mechanics on the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle. If your vehicle is totaled, include its Kelley Blue Book value.
When it comes to photographs, it’s best to have images not only of the specific damage but also the broader scene. This gives the insurance company see a clearer picture of the accident scene and not just the damage.
Having several photos from different angles also contributes to a better understanding of the accident.
You should get several estimates from local repair shops in order to give the insurance company an accurate idea of the cost of fixing your car.
If you provide one quote only, the car insurance company may think it is overpriced and that you can get a better quote elsewhere. Providing several quotes yourself will render that excuse invalid.
Be sure to find out if the insurance company works with specific repair shops. If they do, then you will need to get quotes from those businesses.
As always, you should do enough research to feel confident that any shop you get a quote from is a well-respected business that will do a timely and thorough job on the repair.
If you are looking for the replacement value of your vehicle, you need to have a good understanding of the worth of the car.
You can find this by looking at the Kelley Blue Book Auto Market Report. This book will give you the average asking price for cars that are the same make, model, and condition as yours.
Keep In Touch with the Adjuster
A written letter is an important way to organize and convey your thoughts, but it is important to speak to the claims adjuster as well. Being as polite as possible and forming a cordial relationship with the adjuster can go a long way toward turning around a low car insurance claims payment.
If, however, you find that you are not getting anywhere with the adjuster, you should ask to speak with a manager. By telling your story all over again to a new listener, you may be able to move forward in getting the compensation you deserve.
Keep the Good Faith
If you believe that all your documentation and the organized presentation of your case is proof that you deserve a higher car insurance claim payment, then you can be encouraged by the fact that the law is on your side.
Insurance companies are obliged by the state and federal governments to decide all claims fairly, on time, and in good faith.
If the insurance company doesn’t give your case its due attention, it may be in violation of the good faith provision.
If such a violation occurs, you will have to go back into letter writing mode, this time, to write a complaint to the state agency that oversees insurance matters.
Once again, you should provide a detailed description of the accident and what you perceive to be the car insurance company’s violation. Include documentation.
After you mail the letter, you should get a response from state investigator with the details of the person assigned to your case, including his/her name and the file number of the case.
Keep this information handy, as you will need it every time you speak with the department of insurance about your complaint. The investigator will take your side of the story and the car insurance company’s side of the story and will use all that information to render a decision.
What if I was injured in the accident?
If you were seriously injured in the accident and were unable to work, you may be entitled to money from lost wages. This is usually covered in the personal injury protection portion of insurance policies and is a requirement in most states.
If the accident caused you to miss work, make sure you document all the time at work that you missed as well as how much you lost in wages. You may need to get official documentation from your employer regarding your hourly wage or salary.
Otherwise, be prepared to submit pay stubs as proof of the income that you are not receiving because of your injury.
Remember, if you receive an insurance claim payment and it is not as much as you expected, do not cash it. Contact the insurance company directly, explain your situation, and let them make a suggestion as to the next best steps to take.
Many times people get insurance checks and cash them to use for another purpose other than repairs. While this is not illegal, it can cause problems down the road. If you have a claim for an auto repair, use the money for the repair.
Otherwise, you will find yourself needing to fix the car without the benefit of an insurance payment.
Finding the Best Car Insurance
The best way to avoid a fight over low car insurance claim payments is to find the most well respected and dependable car insurance company that can offer you the protections you need.
Use our FREE online quote comparison tool to find a car insurance company with a proven record of great customer service and follow-through. Compare quotes today by entering your ZIP code below now!