How to Dispute a Car Insurance Claim

Wondering how to dispute a car insurance claim? You can dispute an insurance claim and should collect evidence to support your argument, file immediately, and consult a lawyer. Disputing a car insurance claim may require a mediator and arbitration, or an independent auto insurance adjuster. You always have the right to appeal a car insurance claim but knowing how to fight an auto insurance claim requires the right approach. Keep reading and find out more here.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 26, 2021

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Here's What You Need to Know

  • Supporting documents and pictures can help you win your case in disputing fault after a car accident
  • If you don’t get anywhere with your adjuster, you should ask to speak with the supervisor
  • A lawyer can help guide you through the dispute process
  • If you feel that the insurance company is not acting in good faith, you can file a complaint

Having to dispute car insurance liability decisions can feel like rubbing salt in wounds sustained during a car accident, but knowing how to dispute a car insurance claim is an important skill.

If you have been found at-fault in an accident but believe that you are not, in fact, responsible, you will have to go through a painful dispute process as you work to convince the car insurance company to reverse its decision.

It may not be easy but you can dispute insurance claim faults and appeal car insurance decisions.

If you’re wondering how to fight an insurance claim against you, you’ve come to the right place.

The more organized and motivated you are, the more likely it is that you will be able to influence a car insurance liability decision in your favor.

As a part of how to dispute an auto insurance claim, it’s also important to understand your car insurance policy, learn steps you can take with your insurer, and more.

Read on to learn some tips for disputing car insurance liability decisions and then enter your ZIP code in our free tool to start comparing car insurance to get affordable car insurance quotes so you hopefully won’t find yourself needing to appeal a car insurance claim.

Table of Contents

How To Dispute A Car Insurance Claim

How do you dispute an at-fault accident? What is the process for how to dispute insurance fault?

You should be aware that there are many protections instituted by insurance providers, states, and the national government to guard against unfair liability decisions.

Insurance companies are required to decide claims in a fair and timely manner and, most importantly, in good faith. But if you do find yourself needing to appeal an insurance decision, there are steps you can take. Keep reading to learn more.

Should I supply car insurance claim evidence in writing?

When looking at how to fight an auto insurance claim, the first step is to write a letter that outlines all the details of the case and explains why you think an error was made in assigning liability.

While you will also want to speak to an adjuster over the phone or in person, writing a letter first will help you gather your thoughts in a clear and thorough manner.

This letter should include all evidence in your favor, including:

  • Documentation – Be sure to attach copies of all paperwork acquired. Making a statement in your letter is one thing, but being able to back it up with documentation adds credibility. This is part of learning how to deal with your car insurance company after an accident. Police reports, renderings of the scene, and statements from the driver of the other vehicle are examples of such documentation.
  • Photos – Photos could help your case tremendously. Photos of the damage and the overall scene help the insurance companies understand what happened. Getting close to the damage with photographs of the details is a good idea, as is snapping pictures of larger sections of the scene so that all those details can be put in context.
  • Witnesses – It can bode well for your case if you are able to give the name and contact information of an impartial witness to the accident who can vouch for you.

Gathering this information is the first step in how to win a car insurance appeal (assuming your case is legitimate).

Should I speak with a car insurance adjuster?

Once you are able to relate your story in a clear and substantiated way, contact the adjuster who assessed responsibility to you. The adjuster should listen to your side of the story and review their own records of the accident.

If the decision does not change in your favor, your appeal on your auto insurance claim decision isn’t necessarily over yet.

Can you dispute a car insurance claim after your initial appeal doesn’t work? Yes. You should speak with the adjuster’s superiors. A new set of ears to listen to your story may be just what you need to get the decision overturned.

Should I get a car insurance claim lawyer?

If you have not done so already, it would be wise to employ the services of a legal professional who has experience in the area of car accidents.

A lawyer will be able to guide you through the maze of car insurance that you may not otherwise be able to find your way out of and guide you through the process of how to dispute a car insurance claim.

A lawyer will also be necessary if you decide to sue the car insurance company, which may be your last hope when it comes to disputing a liability decision.

Should I complain about my car insurance company?

If things still don’t go your way, you can take your complaint to the state body that oversees all insurance matters. This is one of the final steps you can take in your journey of how to fight a car insurance claim.

Most insurance departments require that you make your complaint in writing.

You should receive a letter confirming receipt of your complaint and an update as to its review status.

Pay close attention to the investigator’s name and the file number assigned to your case, as you will be asked for that information every time you get in touch with the insurance department regarding this matter.

Once the insurance department’s investigator hears back from the car insurance company involved in the dispute, they will evaluate all the information and decide how best to proceed.

How do I dispute car insurance claim pricing?

Can you dispute an insurance claim pricing? Yes, though you’ll need to take a few steps to do so.

  • If you disagree with your car insurance company’s offered settlement, get an appraisal by an independent car insurance adjuster.
  • The next step if you don’t get anywhere with your insurance company after hiring an adjuster, is to use a mediator.
  • If mediation does not work, you can sue your insurance company, but the cost for legal representation on both sides is quite high, and hopefully this step can be avoided.

It is rather common to need to dispute car insurance claim pricing. Quite often, when policyholders make a claim, the insurer will try its best to minimize the amount it has to pay out.

This is unfortunate considering the fact that most car owners purchase a policy with good faith that when they need their insurance coverage, it will be there for them. Most consumers never expect to have to fight for what is rightfully due them.

Even if the insurance company usually excels at customer service, it is all too common to find that they are less than genial when claims need to be paid.

If you have problems getting paid the fair amount of the claim you filed, you will need to dispute the claim pricing. In order to do so, you’ll need to follow these three steps.

Step One: Get an Independent Appraisal and Appropriate Documentation

If you and the insurer do not agree on how much should be paid out for a specific car insurance claim, you will need to get an independent appraiser involved.

How does car insurance appraisal work? They can evaluate exactly how much the damage to your car should be valued at. Because of this impartiality, they are the ideal judge of the amount that should be paid out. Following the appraisal, this third party will give their results to both you and the insurer.

Typically, an appraiser hired by the insurance company will do the initial appraisal. Such findings are almost always skewed in favor of the insurer.

What if you disagree with the insurance adjuster? This is where the independent appraiser can provide valuable input.

You also need to make sure that you have a copy of all the documentation regarding your claim. Carefully document any and all communication you have with the insurance company, including:

  • Emails
  • Letters
  • Phone Calls

Do your own research using sources like Kelly Blue Book to determine the value of your vehicle.

Step Two: Find a Mediator

The next option is to get a mediator involved in the situation. A mediator is an impartial third party whose job it is to recommend a solution to the impasse and help you resolve the conflict over your car insurance claim.

Typically a mediator is a professional who will evaluate the information provided and conduct necessary negotiations with the insurer to avoid having to go to court.

The mediator is supposed to come up with a solution that is acceptable to both sides.

Step Three: If All Else Fails, Opt for Arbitration

Arbitration is a last resort if mediation does not work. You will need to get a lawyer to work on your behalf for arbitration and you should know that the cost is high. However, if the case goes to arbitration, any ruling is binding.

Therefore, you will get what is owed you by the insurer or you may sue them in court. Going this route is expensive, so make sure you include your legal fees in the settlement.

Realistically, disputes resulting from a car insurance claim should not go to court. Negotiating a deal for both parties is the best possible option, as it saves both parties time and money.

Insurers realize this and when they see that you are serious and have hired an independent appraiser and a mediator, they are typically very easy to negotiate with. Just remember that if you’ve come this far, you may need to go to court if all else fails.

If you have difficulties dealing with a car insurance company regarding claims, you should take that as a sign that you should change insurers.

Before you buy car insurance, take the time to get a variety of quotes and compare prices and coverage thoroughly.

When you have narrowed down your choices based on price and the financial stability of the different insurers, check into the company’s customer service record.

You can get detailed information from your state department of insurance about complaints filed against any insurer licensed in your state. You can also get a lot of information on claims complaints by customers by doing a simple online search.

If you notice a pattern of complaints, you may want to avoid the company. Unfortunately, many of the lowest prices you will find are from insurers who are difficult to deal with when the time comes for claims.

You pay your insurance premium so that you are covered when losses occur. Take the time to make sure that the company you buy your policy from will be willing to pay you fairly and expediently when and if you need it.

Get started today shopping around for car insurance coverage by using an online quote tool like the one on this page to quickly and easily get a variety of quotes from companies serving your area.

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How do I fight a denied car insurance claim?

Here’s how to appeal a car insurance claim decision.

There are a few steps you can take if you’re wondering how to fight an insurance claim denial. This can include (1) finding evidence to support your argument, (2) filing immediately, and (3) consulting an attorney.

  • It may be necessary to appeal a car insurance company decision if the amount of compensation offered does not match your idea of the accident claim’s worth
  • The ideal way to carry out your appeal is to be as systematic and detailed as possible in laying out your case
  • If your insurance company refuses to honor your appeal, you can take your case to the state level

This article walks you through the steps for how to appeal a denied auto insurance claim, including how to document your appeal, follow through on your case, and involve the state as needed.

After reading through this auto insurance company appeal guide, be sure to enter your ZIP in our free tool for car insurance quotes from your state’s top providers.

Document Your Car Insurance Appeal

Your best bet is to provide documentation not only of the accident details, but also of the amount of compensation you deserve. Police reports, photographs, car repair quotes. and the Kelley Blue Book value are some examples of documentation that can bolster your case.

Once you have determined that you must appeal a car insurance company decision, you should outline your case in a letter to the insurance provider.

The information should include the facts behind the accident or claim, the reasons you are appealing the car insurance company decision, and all supporting documentation.

Photographic documentation will help give the car insurance company a clearer picture of the specific damage as well as the scene of the accident.

Photos will allow the company to put the whole accident into proper context and to more accurately assess the needed repairs. Submitting many pictures from different angles can help your cause.

Obtain Vehicle Repair Quotes

When it comes to getting repair quotes from area businesses, more is better.

Appellants who provide only one quote are doing themselves a disservice by leaving the car insurance company room to refuse coverage or assign an insufficient amount of compensation. The insurance provider may believe the quote to be inflated.

By providing several different quotes, you will give the insurance company a more accurate idea of what it costs to a repair a car in your area.

If you are working with a car insurance company that only covers certain repair shops, be sure that all your quotes are from shops on that list. Each quote should also come from businesses you know to be reliable sources of good repairs.

When you are making an appeal regarding car insurance company decisions that involve a totaled vehicle, you should have a well-supported understanding of the value of that vehicle.

The Kelley Blue Book Auto Market Report is the go-to source for determining vehicular value today. The report details the average price listed by dealers for almost every car out there.

By flipping through the book to find your car’s make and model, you will be able to identify the condition and find out just how much cars like yours are being sold for these days.

Stay On Top of the Car Insurance Appeal

Writing your appeal letter is only the first step. Next, you must contact the claims adjuster to drive the point home.

It is in your best interest to foster a congenial relationship with the adjuster so that they are more inclined to support you in your appeal.

If at any point it becomes clear that you are not getting anywhere, though, you should ask to speak with the adjuster’s superiors. You will then be asked to relay your case all over again.

Hopefully the manager’s new perspective will help you move forward in your appeal.

Get the State Involved in Your Car Insurance Appeal

If you’ve laid out what you believe to be a good case but have not gotten the desired response, you will have to take your argument to the next level by going to your state’s regulatory agency in charge of insurance issues.

You will have to write another letter. This one will be a complaint that outlines much of the same information presented in your original appeal to the car insurance company.

In addition, you should include the details of what you perceive to be the improper handling of the case by your insurer.

The state’s insurance department will respond to you with a letter assigning your case an investigator and a case number.

You will use this contact and case number every time you communicate with the state regarding this matter while the investigator takes both your version of events and the insurance company’s in order to decide how to resolve your case.

Can I appeal if my car insurance does not pay me enough?

Yes you can; car insurance underpayments are much more common than you might think. Insurance companies’ customer service is at its best when you are paying premiums, not when they have to pay a claim.

If you feel that you have been underpaid on a car insurance claim, you can and should appeal it.

Insurance providers try to protect their own bottom line by paying out the bare minimum or less, and appraisers who work for them make it easy to do so.

If you want to make an appeal, you will need to begin with an internal appeal to your insurance company. If that doesn’t work, you can try an objective external appeal.

Learn all about the car insurance underpayment and appeal process below and then be sure to enter your ZIP in the box above to start finding the best car insurance!

What is bad faith in regard to car insurance companies?

When you sign up with an insurance company to help protect you and your assets in the case of an accident or other mishap, you expect the company to treat you fairly.

In fact, each state lays out specific legal obligations for how an insurance company is supposed to act in the policyholder’s or client’s best interest.

The Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society was formed to protect consumers in cases of dishonest and unfair insurance regulation.

When an insurance company does not act in an honest and fair way, it is called bad faith. There are a number of ways in which bad faith may occur.

Some examples of bad faith are:

  • Denying coverage
  • Delaying claim payment for an unacceptable amount of time
  • Denying claim payment
  • Undervaluing and underpayment of claims
  • Refusal to investigate a claim in a logical way
  • Refusing to reimburse or settle claims
  • Unjust cancellation of your policy
  • Unreasonable claims processes

If you believe your insurance company is exhibiting any of these signs of bad faith, you can and should file a complaint.

Do Your Research

The first thing you should do is to arm yourself with information. Ask for a detailed explanation of the amount that they have proposed to pay you. If the person you are speaking with cannot provide the information to your satisfaction, ask to speak with a supervisor.

You should ask for copies of all paperwork relating to the claim, including the appraisal if you do not already have a copy. Carefully review your car insurance policy documents to look for anything that might help your case.

If you see wording about fair market value or incidental loss coverage, you have a strong case for appeal.

The next thing you will want to find out is how the formal appeal process works. Ask your agent or another representative of the insurer about it. Your insurance company must provide this information.

However, to guarantee compliance and honesty, you should document every interaction you have with the company, including date, time, who you spoke with and what was discussed.

This documentation will form part of the paperwork for your appeal.

Filing the Appeal

In order to make sure your appeal is considered you must follow the instructions carefully. Fill out the form completely, making sure that each field is complete. If you omit information, it may provide grounds for denial of the appeal.

Be sure to include any pertinent information that may support your claim of underpayment. As we noted before, you may want to include Kelly Blue Book documentation showing that your vehicle is valued higher than the insurance company has determined.

You may also want to hire an independent appraiser to make an appraisal of the damage to your vehicle.

They are obligated to submit a copy of the appraisal to both you and the insurer, which can greatly help your case.

Be sure to include a letter outlining any supplementary information about your claim and why you feel it is an underpayment. Include all your supporting documentation.

You can find a car insurance claim dispute letter sample by searching the internet.

Be sure to state how much you feel the insurance company should pay and what you have based the amount on. File the formal appeal according to the directions provided and make sure you submit it to the correct address.

The Results of your Car Insurance Claim Appeal

It will take time to get the final decision concerning your car insurance claim appeal.

In the interim, many insurers will even make you an offer you for more than the original amount but less than the amount you are demanding, in order to get you to stop your appeal. Their hope is that you will settle for a compromise in the interest of expediency.

However, if you can afford to wait on the results of the appeal, you should do so.

In fact, by replacing your insured property without waiting for the payment from the insurer, you will be in a much better position for the evaluation of the appeal.

When you are looking for car insurance and comparing the different companies out there, one of the most important things to do is find out how they handle claims.

If you get a glowing recommendation from someone who has had to make major claims, you know that you have found a trustworthy company. A recommendation from someone who has never made a claim holds much less weight.

What do you do if you are not happy with the car insurance appeal results?

If the insurance company denies your appeal or still offers you less than you believe you deserve, there are a couple of routes that you can take.

  • One is to contact your state’s department of insurance. They offer a way to appeal through their office and will usually investigate it themselves, without any pressure from the insurance company.
  • Another way you can go is through an attorney. You should only go this route if you have tried everything else and have not gotten the results you want.

Keep in mind that an attorney will be expensive so if you don’t really feel like you have a case, you may want to simply accept the offer from the insurance company.

How do I dispute a car insurance claim adjuster’s report?

If you disagree with your insurance claims settlement, ask to speak to a manager. If you don’t get anywhere with a manager, you can get a repair estimate from a mechanic or an independent adjuster.

As a last resort, you have the option to take a car insurance company to court.

Disputing a car insurance claim adjuster’s report is your right and it can be as simple as getting an independent report and submitting it, or as complicated as hiring a lawyer and bringing the claim to court. You can also learn how to negotiate with a car insurance adjuster yourself.

In between these two extremes, there are other things you can do such as hiring a third party adjuster or going over the adjuster’s head and contacting the claims manager.

Keep reading for more specific information regarding how to dispute a claim adjuster’s report. Also, be sure to use your ZIP code in our free tool to get a free car insurance quote so you can compare car insurance rates today.

Should I get an independent report?

The final say as to the amount you should be paid for a car insurance claim does not have to rest solely with your insurance company. Be aware that some insurance companies will try to convince you that you do not have a choice.

They may make you feel like you have to follow what their adjuster said in the report, but this is not the case. You have a right to dispute the adjuster’s report and you have the right to get independent reports as well.

There are many independent auto mechanics, not affiliated with an insurance office, which can be hired to give you a report. This is the first step and the cheapest route you can take.

Make sure you are hiring a professional. Your cousin who fixes cars on the side, no matter how knowledgeable, will not be considered a professional by the insurance company.

Allow the person you hire to look over the damage to your vehicle and give you a written report with a dollar amount required to fix the vehicle. Then send this to your insurance company via certified mail.

If this does not work, you can go a step above hiring a professional mechanic and hire an independent auto insurance adjuster.

Though you may not be familiar with independent adjusters, it is actually a very competitive business and you will be able to find many choices in your area just by going online or looking in the yellow pages.

Independent or private adjusters are able to use their expertise not only of vehicle repair but of the insurance industry itself to help you get the settlement you deserve. This is more costly when hiring an independent mechanic but usually yields better results.

What do I do if the independent report doesn’t work?

If you have gone the route of hiring someone to do an independent report and your insurance adjuster will not change the report, it is time for the next step.

Step One: Contact a Supervisor

You should contact the supervisor or manager that the claims adjuster reports to and give them the same independent reports you gave to the adjuster.

Sometimes, simply speaking with a manager will result in your claim being adjusted. Some insurance companies make you do the work, but when you reach a manager, they are willing to make changes.

Step Two: Contact the State Insurance Office

If this is unsuccessful, you can contact your state insurance office. Every state has a government office that regulates the insurance industry of the state, and almost every state insurance office has a complaint department as well.

You can file a complaint and the office will investigate your claim, along with comparing it to complaints filed against the same company.

If the company has a history of problems, your complaint will be investigated more vigorously and may save other people from having a bad experience with the same company. This may take awhile so you need to be patient, but it is worth it to get the claim you deserve.

Step Three: File a Lawsuit

The last step in disputing a car insurance adjuster’s report is to file a lawsuit. This should only be done if you have tried every other option.

Taking an insurance company to court is costly. If you win the suit, the insurance company will be required to reimburse you for your expenses, but if you don’t win you will be out the money for the court expenses and your claim still will not be adjusted.

Some insurance companies will settle with you just to save the expense of going to court.

Finding a Trustworthy Car Insurance Company

A major factor in disputing a claim is working with an insurance company that it reputable and that you can trust. We’ll discuss this in more detail later.

To get started finding an insurance company, you can use our free online comparison tool.

This type of tool allows you to receive rates and quotes from top companies so that you can find a reputable company you will be able to work with when a claim needs to be filed. Just enter your ZIP code to start!

Fighting a Car Insurance Settlement that is Too Low

If you think the settlement the insurance company is offering is too low, or you are concerned it will be too low, you’ll need to keep documentation of everything involved with your car accident.

At the time of the accident, you should always take photos of the scene. 

Car insurance companies are required to act in good faith, so often a presentation of the facts to your adjuster will be enough to win your case.

Once you decide to fight a low car insurance claim payment, your best plan of attack involves an organized presentation of all the evidence in your favor.

From photos of the accident scene to 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 use your ZIP code for a free online car insurance comparison.

Do I need to keep my paperwork for a car insurance claim?

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 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 (which we discussed earlier). This book will give you the average asking price for cars that are the same make, model, and condition as yours.

Should I keep in touch with the car insurance 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 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.

Does good faith apply?

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 use all that information to render a decision.

What if I was injured in the car 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 (PIP) portion of insurance policies and is a requirement in most states. Take a look at this video to learn more about PIP.

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.

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.

How can I regulate my car insurance claims payouts?

Policyholders cannot regulate car insurance companies, but they do have some control over the amount of money they are paid out in claims.

So how do you go about disputing car insurance claims and payouts?

If you disagree with the insurance adjuster or are considering disputing car insurance claims and payouts, you do have options.

  • When a consumer has their car insurance claim approved, cash payment is made to cover the cost of damages done to the vehicle, car rental fees, and medical bills
  • If you do not believe that you are being fairly compensated by your auto insurer, you may be able to have your claim reconsidered

Many consumers depend on their car insurance provider’s internal accident investigation department to determine the amount of money that they will be paid for damages.

If you have submitted a claim with the insurance company of another driver, you may have even more difficulty being paid a fair sum of money. Only your state insurance commissioner and Department of Insurance has the power to regulate auto insurers.

However, consumers do have considerable power in numbers.

Enter your ZIP code into our free tool for better online car insurance rates.

How do car insurance companies determine how much to pay on claims?

Having your car damaged as a result of your own actions or the negligence of another motorist is never a pleasant ordeal.

The time that it takes for your car insurance company to fully investigate your claim will have a major impact on how long you will be inconvenienced, as well as your total expenses.

Certain vehicles result in more expensive claims, as our analysts discovered in the research for our article, 15 Shocking Car Insurance Claim Statistics. Some of the reasons include more expensive parts, the size of the vehicle, and whether a vehicle is labeled a “total loss.”

The Maine Bureau of Insurance explains how car insurance providers are responsible for paying out on insurance claims.

Even if you have been told by several mechanics that it will cost several thousand dollars to have your vehicle repaired, your insurance company may disagree.

Insurance providers regularly pay out the least amount possible on insurance claims.

While you may already have had brand-new replacement parts installed on your vehicle at your preferred auto shop, your car insurance company may see things differently.

Used and refurbished car parts pulled from vehicles that have been totaled are normally used by insurance claims adjusters to determine the value of payouts.

Insurance adjusters don’t just work to reconstruct the events leading up to accidents or to establish which driver is more at fault; they also strive to keep the total amount of money paid out on claims to a minimum.

Although you may not receive an insurance check that is large enough to purchase brand-new auto parts, it should still be reasonable.

If you are able to counter your insurance company’s proposed claims payout with a few estimates from reliable auto mechanics, you may receive more money than what was first offered.

What if your car insurance payout isn’t enough to pay your bills?

While you may have a great relationship with your car insurance agent and receive prompt assistance, your car insurance claim may still not go your way.

Using websites like Consumer Affairs to make public complaints about your disagreement will likely make you feel better, but it may not change the outcome.

If the amount of money that your car insurance provider has paid out is completely unreasonable, you may end up needing to hire a lawyer.

When the primary vehicle of a car insurance policyholder has been disabled, repairs have to be made in a timely manner. If you cannot wait for your claim to be reconsidered, try to make a payment arrangement with your mechanic for the time being.

What happens if my car insurance policy is canceled after a claim is made?

Since car insurance companies do have the right to protect themselves from policyholders that become too much of a burden, it is possible to have your coverage canceled after submitting a claim.

You cannot have your insurance recalled fewer than ten days after being notified in the mail in Texas, but this is not true in all states.

However, most motorists are able to find a new car insurance provider soon after learning that their coverage is being canceled.

If you have not been able to find a car insurance company that will issue a new policy, check to see if your state Department of Motor Vehicles has any sponsored car insurance programs.

You can be put in contact with high-risk car insurance providers that are contracted to keep motorists in your state of residence insured within the legal limits.

If you have reason to believe that your insurance provider dropped your coverage unfairly, you can follow up with the agencies that govern insurance companies in your state.

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Finding the Best Car Insurance

The key to avoiding hassles related to the dispute of car insurance liability decisions is finding a trustworthy car insurance company. Good faith starts with knowing that you can trust a company even before you sign a contract.

If you are proactive in finding the best car insurance company to fulfill your unique needs as a customer, you just may be able to avoid ever having to appeal a car insurance company decision.

One way to find out if a car insurance company is reliable is to look at customer satisfaction ratings for companies across the country.

You can look at data from companies like J.D. Power. They rank insurance companies based on customer satisfaction factors like billing processes and policy information, claims, price, and more.

Their study ranks companies in different regions. We’ve summarized their regional data in this table by listing the highest ranked company in each region. Take a look.

Aflac Scores from Major Rating Agencies
Rating AgencyAflac's Score
Better Business BureauA+
Standard and PoorA
A.M. Best A+
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It is important to note that in nearly every region, USAA is actually the number one ranked company. However, because USAA is only available to members of the military and their families, this table reflects the highest ranked companies available to all insureds.

You’ll need to balance customer satisfaction data with cost, to make sure you’re getting a company that will be there when you need it at a price you can afford. Take a look at this table to see average rates for various coverage types across the country.

Average Annual Full Coverage Auto Insurance Rates by State
StatesAverage Annual Full Coverage Rates
South Dakota$744.28
North Dakota$768.09
North Carolina$768.28
New Hampshire$795.50
New Mexico$920.42
South Carolina$936.69
West Virginia$1,032.45
Rhode Island$1,257.40
District of Columbia$1,324.39
New York$1,327.82
New Jersey$1,379.20
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The rates in this table are averages to help you form a baseline expectation of what you could be paying in your state, but your personal situation, age, credit score, driving history, etc. will affect your exact rates.

Our online quote comparison tool will allow you compare multiple quotes from different companies.

Doing so today will put you on the road to complete and reliable protection. Compare quotes today by entering your ZIP code into the box below!

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Dispute A Car Insurance Claim

Still have questions about how to fight an auto insurance claim denial or how to dispute an insurance claim? Read these frequently asked questions to learn more.

#1. What is the process for how to fight a health insurance claim?

The process for fighting a health insurance claim decision is similar to the process for fighting a car insurance claim.

At a minimum, you should:

  1. Ask for details so you can find out exactly why your claim was denied
  2. Find out the deadline for filing any appeals
  3. Take the time to read through your health insurance policy so you understand what is and is not covered
  4. Compile all relevant documentation
  5. Write your appeal letter

If you don’t win your appeal on the first try, give it another shot.

#2. How do I keep money from an insurance claim?

Typically, you can keep money from an insurance claim if you elect to receive money from your car insurance company, rather than having your insurer work directly with the repair shop to fix any damages to your vehicle.

#3. Can you reverse an insurance claim?

Yes. You can cancel a claim after it’s been filed. And as you know from reading this article, you can appeal claims denials, insurance liability decisions you disagree with, etc.

To see how you can save on car insurance so you have the coverage you need so you hopefully won’t ever find yourself disputing a car insurance claim, type your ZIP code into our free tool now.

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