After an accident, your insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster who is responsible for investigating your claim. Their job is to determine how much of the claim is covered by your insurance policy and recommend the amount of payment. What should be a straight-forward task however, can sometimes get messy if you’re dealing with a difficult adjuster.
Here are a few tips to help things run more smoothly.
The job performance of insurance adjusters is judged not only on how little of the company’s money they spend in settlement. They are also expected to bring each claim they’re assigned to a conclusion as soon as possible. They’re under constant pressure from their superiors to settle your claim and to get rid of it and move on.
Don’t cave in to their stress. Move along in the process at a pace that is comfortable to you and allows you to not only heal (if you’ve been injured) but also gather all necessary documentation to support your claim. Claims settled in haste are rarely paid fairly and given its full value.
When preparing your claim, do not exaggerate and inflate numbers. If you have no proper documentation and no idea about replacement costs, avoid estimating the value on your own. An inflated insurance claim submitted to the insurance company will appear obvious and may result in a lower settlement than expected.
Don’t wait until an accident occurs to become familiar with your insurance policy. It’s important to have an understanding of your rights and coverage to protect yourself if anything should happen.
Keep organized receipts: records that support earnings loss and keep records of purchases to help estimate replacement costs. The adjuster assigned to your claim will inspect the damage to your property, analyze evidence of loss and review all repair bills. Have your bills and receipts ready and on-hand for the adjuster. The easier you can make their job, the more likely they are going to work with, not against, you.
The quality of your claim is directly related to how much you will recover from the insurance company. If your adjuster cannot read or comprehend your claim, don’t expect him to read between the lines. Fill in the missing pieces to give a proper itemization to your claim.
Don’t be naive to think the insurance company will hand over the money to you just because you had a loss! Consider hiring an expert to help you, especially if you are unsure of the proper questions to ask. If your loss involves liability, workmen’s compensation or bodily injury, you should consider contacting a lawyer.
If the adjuster is still giving you a difficult time or offers you a settlement that is less than fair, refer to your insurance policy for your rights to go to arbitration. Also, call your insurance company’s home office if you feel your claim hasn’t been handled fairly or professionally.