My husband was recently in a major auto accident. Another driver lost control of his vehicle and then, like a pinball, bounced around, hitting multiple cars. Luckily, my husband walked away without major injury, although his car was totaled.
This was a real test of our insurance company. While we were not thrilled at the thought of purchasing a new car, the initial settlement offer from our insurance company was reasonable. We were then able to negotiate for a higher amount, as the value of our car (pre-accident of course) was selling in the “used” marketplace for a slightly higher amount. Surprisingly, the check arrived within a week. Our insurance company proved to us that it is a responsible company by paying our claim quickly.
We have since written a positive review of our insurance company on Clearsurance.com, but having gone through this experience, we wish someone would have given us more information about the auto insurance claims process. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
1. Note your claims adjuster’s contact information
Write down your claims adjuster’s name and direct line or extension, so you may share or get information quickly. (NOTE: Your insurance company’s adjuster is the person who evaluates and determines your insurance company’s liability on the claim. The adjuster will assess what is owed to you based on the claim and your insurance policy.)
2. Know what the auto insurance claims process is
If the adjuster fails to walk you through the process or timeframe is, ASK! Remember, this is your claim. The only person who stands to benefit or lose is you. You are your best advocate. You paid your premium. You have a right to know how your claim will be handled by the insurance company who you hired to pay your claim.
3. Write down key information
While you are speaking with the adjuster, write down what the process is, what the expected time frame is and what the adjuster expects of you. It may not seem like a lot of information initially, but when you later try to recall how many days you have for the rental car, its best to have your notes from that call (oh, and definitely ask how many days you have the rental car for — don’t get stuck paying for it because you took too long deciding between a Ford Explorer and a Honda Pilot!)
4. Maintain an insurance claim file and date your notes
Date every conversation with your insurance company. Even the best adjusters can’t and shouldn’t be expected to remember every claim. If you need to refer back to a previous conversation, the date of the conversation will assist your adjuster in referring back to his/her notes.
5. Understand your insurance settlement
If you do have the unfortunate experience of totaling your car and receive a settlement offer, ask your adjuster to explain the settlement offer. Check the used marketplace for a comparable car to determine if you are receiving a fair offer from your insurer.
6. Share your review on Clearsurance.com
Not only will you help your peers who read reviews, but also the insurance companies who are, guess what, also reading reviews. By building a community of informed, insurance consumers, we are creating a more transparent insurance industry. Take a few minutes to write a review for your insurance company.
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