A car accident is a scary and stressful event - and not knowing the car appraisal process that goes on before filing an insurance claim just makes it worse. This article will discuss the appraisal process and will give you three things about the process that you should know.
The Purpose of Appraisal
The goal of an appraisal is to determine the fair value of your vehicle. Specifically, your insurer is trying to determine how much it will cost to repair the vehicle after an accident. In certain cases, the cost of repair may be higher than the car is worth. In that case, the insurance company will typically pay you what the car is worth as determined by the appraisal.
The Process: After the Accident
The first step in the appraisal process following an accident is reporting the accident to the insurance company. These days, many insurance companies have claims adjusters who travel to the scene of the wreck to appraise the vehicle. An appraisal expert will interview you to determine the circumstances of the accident before taking a look at the vehicle itself.
During an appraisal, the appraiser is looking to determine the extent of the damage and the overall condition of the car itself. They have specific criteria to follow and standards to apply in order to determine how much the coverage will cost. This is important, because the amount of coverage under your car insurance policy that you will receive for the car's repairs is based off of this number.
Three Things You Should Know
The damage to your vehicle may be so severe that your car will either be totaled, or will result in more money to repair than it is worth. In this case, the agent may write the car off as a total loss. Your best bet may be to accept the payment rather than trying to salvage the car yourself, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Your insurer is required by law to offer you a fair price. Being present with the appraiser will help you and your agent arrive at a fair price for your vehicle. If you feel that what you are offered is too low, you might increase your payment by sharing with your appraisal agent any improvements you have made to your vehicle, with receipts.
Finally, your car insurance policy may have an appraisal provision that allows you the opportunity to have an independent agent appraise your car. You may pursue this option if you feel that you will get a better result from a third-party appraiser.
A car appraisal can be stressful, but with these tips, you'll hopefully be set for a smooth and fair process.