If you’ve been in a car accident, damage to your vehicle may be significant. Assuming that you or the other driver has auto insurance coverage, you likely will work within the insurance company’s claims process to complete the repairs. Typically the insurer assigns an adjuster to your claim, and it is the adjuster’s responsibility to determine the extent of the damage as well as how much it will cost to restore your vehicle to an acceptable and safe condition.
How the Claims Negotiation Process Begins
Once the insurance company receives notice of your claim, they will assign an insurance adjuster. The adjuster will go out to inspect your vehicle, wherever it may be, and attempt to determine what’s required to repair it. You can get a jump on the repair process by having your car towed to a local repair shop. The adjuster can inspect the vehicle at that location, ideally with the shop’s technician present.
Working with the Claims Adjuster
The insurance company tasks the claims adjuster to determine the extent of the damage to your vehicle and to oversee its repair. Because the adjuster has the insurance company’s best interest in mind, he or she will attempt to negotiate the lowest possible price. If it’s your insurance company that will be paying for the repairs (because the accident was your fault or the other party was uninsured), the relationship takes on some conflicting interests. Keeping the insurance company’s costs within reasonable standards helps keep premiums down for everyone. Nevertheless, they are legally obligated to provide you with comprehensive repair and a vehicle that’s safe to drive when the work is done.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement for Your Repair
Knowing the players and who is serving which interests helps you have a better perspective on the process. If the car’s estimated repair costs come close to or exceed the vehicle’s value, the insurance company will likely declare it a total loss. If body and mechanical repairs are the chosen course of action, expect the adjuster to begin with a lowball estimate repair. Many people believe that they are compelled to accept the adjuster’s first offer, but that’s not usually the case.
Make sure that you take your vehicle to a trusted local collision damage repair shop, and that the repair shop also prepares their own estimate for repairs. Often, hidden damage will exist that the adjuster is unable to see. A repair shop has the experience and equipment to identify those latent problems. Use the repair shop’s estimate as a negotiating tool with the adjuster. In some cases, the repair shop will actually negotiate on your behalf, to ensure that your vehicle is repaired properly and completely.
Dent Master, serving the Salt Lake City area for over 20 years, provides exceptional collision damage repair service with quick response times and excellent customer service. They offer a lifetime warranty on all repairs and have experience working with every major insurance company. They will handle the claims process for you and ensure that your car accident damage is repaired to your satisfaction.