A car insurance policy is mandatory for every vehicle owner; its purpose is to protect the owner from financial loss resulting from an automobile accident or claim. When this does occur, the first step to take is to contact your insurance company. You will be dealing with a car insurance adjuster at this point.
Basically, the job of a car insurance adjuster is to investigate every auto claim and determine if a payout is required and what the amount of that payout is, and who is at fault for the accident. This can seem like an intimidating process at first, so you should always ask questions if you are unsure about anything. Following are a few important questions that you should ask.
How do they determine who is at fault? Someone is always to blame for every accident, collision, or ‘fender bender’ that occurs. A car insurance adjuster reviews several different scenarios to come to this conclusion. In these scenarios, the adjuster must disregard the weather or road conditions at the time. If you are found to be at fault, this could impact your car insurance policy premiums.
How do they decide whether to repair the vehicle or deem it a total loss? When a vehicle owner files a claim because of an accident or vandalism, the insurance adjuster must decide whether it is financially beneficial to repair the vehicle or to deem it a write off. Ask the adjuster how this decision is made, so that you are fully informed. Usually, they will assess it using ACV, or the actual cash value method. This means that they take into consideration the mileage, overall condition, and average selling price of similar vehicles. If the cost to repair the vehicle is more than this amount, the vehicle will be a total loss.
What if I disagree with the decision? There are times that we may not agree with the final decision of the claims adjuster. If this happens, ask the adjuster what your next steps should be. If you have any additional information, paperwork, or witnesses that may impact the claim, you should immediately pass those along to him or her. It is possible that this new information could alter the decision. If you are still not satisfied, an unbiased appraiser will be appointed. Both parties must adhere to this decision.
What do they need from me? Make sure to ask your adjuster exactly what information they require. Usually, they will need a copy of the police report, any medical or hospital records, and a completed claims form. Having this information early on in the investigation will ensure that the car insurance claim goes smoothly and quickly.