Auto Insurance Claim Settlement

auto insuranc claim settlement

If you've been in an accident, you want to get your auto insurance claim settlement as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

To do this, you should understand your rights and know when to accept the final settlement and sign on the dotted line.

Your car insurance settlement is the final amount that you will receive as the result of any damage or loss covered by your insurance policy, or the policy of the "at-fault" driver.

Once you have signed the settlement papers, you will be unable to dispute it further, so be sure you have considered your claim adequately before taking that final step.

In most situations, once you have filed a claim you will find that you have to have your vehicle evaluated by a insurance claims adjuster. This is the person who will look at the damages and determine the amount they feel the insurance company should pay you for repairs or replacement.

If the damages are severe and the repairs would be greater than the actual value of the car, the adjuster may consider your vehicle a "total loss." (Actually, I already consider my vehicle a total loss). :-)

You don't always have to settle for exactly the amount that the adjuster comes up with. If you feel it is unfair, you can attempt to negotiate with your insurer.

Disputing A Car Insurance Settlement

auto insurance claim settlement

If you do decide to argue the proposed amount of the auto insurance claim settlement, do your homework. Gather together the paperwork needed to prove your case.

Get a couple of different estimates for repair or replacement, as the case may be. You may even want to consult with Kelley's Blue Book or the National Association of Automobile Dealers to find out where the estimated value of your vehicle currently stands, allowing for depreciation.

If your vehicle was in exceptional condition, you can request a higher settlement by proving the condition of the car with mileage reports, service receipts, and even affidavits from mechanics, etc. that provide evidence of your claim.

I have a dear older friend who has a gorgeous Lincoln that is absolutely pristine and of very low mileage because she only drives it to the local shops. Her car would definitely be worth more than the Blue Book value.

If you are in an accident that involved personal injury, provide medical reports and bills to show the expenses that are involved.

Difficulty Settling Your Auto Insurance Claim?

If you have gone through all the basic steps outlined in an attempt to reach a fair insurance settlement, but are still unsatisfied with the results, there are other steps you can take as a last resort:

  • Speak to the Head of the Claims Department. You may even be able to talk to someone in the consumer complaint department of the insurance company you are dealing with.

  • Gather the documentation that proves your argument. Present your case in an orderly fashion with all the details listed, including your contact details, claim number, and the steps you have taken so far.

  • Check your policy for recommended action in the event of a dispute. Most policies will indicate if the insurer has an arbitrator to help you reach a settlement.

  • Choose an independent arbitrator to review your case. If you want someone who is not affiliated with your current auto insurance provider, consider calling the American Arbitration Association on  212-484-4000  to make arrangements.

  • File a complaint with your state insurance regulator. Explain the difficulties you are having and see if they can be of assistance in reaching a car insurance settlement.

  • Hire an attorney. This can get really expensive, so I would only recommend this step as a last resort. (Besides, I'm not that fond of most lawyers either). :-) No offense intended.However, if you do decide to go that route, get the fees upfront and in writing - - and read the fine print.

Hopefully, you will be able to reach an auto insurance claim settlement without having to take such drastic measures. I know it is frustrating that we pay and pay and pay our auto insurance premiums for years, and then have to sometimes deal with this mess when we actually need to file a claim.

That is the nature of the beast, I'm afraid. Just do your own due diligence and keep good records. You'll be pleased you did in the long run when you achieve a satisfactory auto insurance claim settlement.

Fingers crossed for you!

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