You’ve been in an accident, your car has been stolen, or it’s been vandalized. These and a few other problems could lead to you needing to file a car insurance claim with your insurance company. It’s a situation that can often be stressful as you strive to be compensated fairly for your claim.
It can be difficult for people to understand that an auto insurance adjuster’s role is to have the claim resolved quickly and with as little cost as possible for the insurance company. Those motivations can lead to a less than ideal experience for you as the customer.
There are ways to negotiate with an auto insurance adjuster to make the process move along to its fair resolution. In this article, Part 1 recommends having all your paperwork organized before you call, Part 2 reminds you to remain calm and courteous, and Part 3 suggests asking for the results in writing.
Part 1 of 3: Have supporting documentation on hand
You may be leaving money on the table if you don’t provide documents that support your claim such as receipts. Providing physical documents strengthens your claim and can help you get the best results from the insurance adjuster.
Step 1: Make timely contact with the auto insurance adjuster. Once your claim has begun, you’ll be assigned an adjuster that will follow it through to completion.
Once you’ve been assigned the adjuster, make a quick call or send a short email to touch base on the claim.
Making contact will reinforce that you are a person they are dealing with, not just a case number.
Step 2: Collect your documents for your claim. A paper trail is irrefutable and can quickly sway the claim in your favor.
This includes receipts for recent vehicle repairs, medical costs associated with your claim, comparable vehicle values, and appraisal information. Have any documentation that might be required available to send without delay if it’s necessary.
Step 3: Review your car insurance policy. Know the limitations on coverage so you can advocate for yourself with accurate knowledge.
Make special note of which applicable coverage you have for the current claim, and the coverage limits for those sections.
Part 2 of 3: Keep communication civil and consistent
An insurance adjuster will be more responsive if communication is easy, polite, and honest. You can do your part to ensure good communication.
Step 1: Keep your language courteous. Your auto insurance adjuster will be more responsive without a barrage of verbal abuse.
It’s the adjuster’s job, not a personal vendetta. Treat your adjuster with respect and you should receive the same in return.
In communication, avoid the use of derogatory terms and swear words. Keep language professional at all times.
Step 2: Talk with your adjuster frequently. At the end of every conversation, set the next time to talk again.
You can’t communicate too much. If you have a question or concern, reach out to your adjuster before your next scheduled communication.
Step 3: Negotiate realistically. Should you request unreasonable results, you can expect the same type of treatment in return from your auto insurance adjuster.
Use your well-educated research as the basis for all your negotiations.
Part 3 of 3: Request results in writing
When decisions are made regarding your claim, make sure to get it in writing. Verbal communication is difficult at best to prove and won’t hold up under scrutiny.
Step 1: Once any terms have been reached in your negotiations, request an update. Your adjuster should be able to email you with terms that have been settled as well as an offer for your claim.
Some insurers won’t send periodic written communication, but instead, only a settlement offer or confirmation.
Step 2: Review the details thoroughly to ensure they match the terms to which you’ve agreed. If the terms are different, ask for a new document.
The written settlement you accept is the only one that matters. If it’s not acceptable to you, don’t settle.
Step 3: If you can’t negotiate terms that satisfy both you and the adjuster, the claim may need to go to mediation.
Mediation can take much longer. To avoid lengthy delays in settling your claim, be open and understanding in your negotiations with your adjuster.
The research and preparation you do before calling your insurance company is the backbone for all your negotiations. Remember that the adjuster has a job to do and you’ll get further if you stay calm and professional throughout the call.