Understanding car insurance means knowing that you may not be offered everything you feel you are entitled to when you file a car insurance claim. Car insurance companies will do everything in their power to pay out the very minimum they have to, or even less if possible. Although they’re focused on customer service when you’re paying them your premiums, they can be quite different when it’s their turn to pay. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, were found to not be at fault and are now entitled to a settlement, don’t be surprised if you encounter some resistance on their part. To dispute a claim, go into the process with a few negotiating tips at your disposal. It will make things easier to deal with and give you the tools to handle the insurance claim adjusters, whose job is to determine how low the payout should be.
If the dispute involves how much the insurance company is willing to pay for the damages to your car, the first thing to do is hire an independent appraiser. This person will evaluate the condition and damages to your vehicle independent of the insurance company. An appraiser who works for the insurance company will slant their judgment in favor of the company. An independent appraiser, on the other hand, is an impartial judge of value and will notify both you and the insurance company of their findings.
Before you hire an attorney and head to arbitration, hire a mediator. A mediator will take the information supplied by the appraiser and negotiate with the insurance company. The dispute can often be settled this way without the need of attorneys or a courtroom appearance. It is the mediator’s job to sort out the dispute, in order to arrive at a solution that suits both parties.
If it comes to it, your next step will be to hire an attorney for arbitration. This will be much more expensive than a mediator, as attorney’s fees are steep. The good news is if the dispute goes to arbitration, the ruling is binding. If you have a seamless case, the insurance company will have to pay up. Insurance companies that still don’t pay the correct settlement after losing arbitration can be sued in a court of law. If the dispute gets to this point, know that it will be expensive. Make sure your case is airtight and you will get your settlement, plus force the insurance company to pay for legal fees.
A car insurance dispute should ideally never go to court. Negotiation is the best possible choice. If you are owed a settlement from an insurance company, but they offer you less than you feel is right, hire an independent appraiser to judge accurately what you are owed, and a mediator to negotiate with the insurance company in a non-binding setting. Insurance companies would rather not spend a lot of money on attorneys and courtroom appearances, so negotiation often proves fruitful. If it does not work, however, be prepared to arbitrate and go to court if necessary.