One of our readers is an insurance claims adjuster, the guy who comes out to inspect damages, and he sent in 6 tips to help consumers through the claims process.
Essentially he advises people that they’ll get more from being armed with facts and behaving like a professional adult than through histrionics.
6. Be forthright and cooperative, you may not like all the answers you get, but be polite.
5. Do your research. Call your agent and as for a copy of your policy language if you don’t have it. Look and see what is covered and what isn’t. Maybe you don’t have rental car coverage like you thought you did? Most insurance does not automatically cover rental cars.
4. Your agent is not a claims adjuster and typically will give incorrect advice. Be forewarned.
3, When your car is totaled, they will do research in your market to value your car compared to what equivalent models can be sold for. So check your local autotrader, classifieds, etc. to get an idea of what a car comparable to yours is being sold for. This way, you know when your offer is fair or not.
2. If the offer isn’t fair compared to your research, try to be polite still. Offer to send in the research you’ve done. Adjusters can’t make decisions and payments without having hard copies in their files to justify what they’ve done. Usually the adjuster will be happy to look at your paperwork and make the fair offer.
1. When all else fails, and you’ve been polite, and it hasn’t gotten you anywhere, speak with a supervisor, and start to take a look on the internet at your state’s insurance regulations. Typically they can be found in the state statutes on the web, for free.
“Basically, we deal with claimants all day,” writes our reader.” When they yell at us and get pissed at us, it’s not very motivating to help them or go beyond our typical modus operandi to make things right. Usually, those that get pissed get the bare minimum we can give them, and we get rid of those people as quickly as we can. When I get a claimant who is polite and cooperative, it makes my job a lot more pleasant, and I’m more willing to go out of my way to help said claimant to make things right…you get more with cupcakes than you do with swords.”