May 31, 2010

Auto Insurance And The Post Accident Appraisal

For many drivers, being in an accident is only the beginning of a long and confusing process to resolution. Often, drivers fear contacting their insurance company far more than being in an accident, as they worry about increased rates, unpaid claims, and are unsure about the fate of their vehicle. As well, drivers are often unaware of the steps taken during the claims process, which accounts for some of their concerns. Without knowing what will happen next and how it impacts their eventual settlement, the processing of a claim can be a very nervous time for an insured, especially one that has never been in an accident before. Although there are a number of steps involved in any accident claim, one of the most important to understand is the auto insurance appraisal.

This occurs after a car has been damaged and towed to the owner’s dealership or body shop. Once the insurance company has been notified of the accident and heard the story of how it occurred from the driver, they will likely request that any deductible be paid and will then send out an auto insurance appraiser. This appraiser will liaise with the mechanics to determine the extent of the damage to the vehicle, and will then determine its overall value. This is done by considering the year of the car, the distance it has traveled, as well as any special features the car may have and the maintenance it has undergone. If the auto insurance appraisal is conducted and the conclusion reached is that the car will be cheaper to write up as a total loss than repair, that is what will occur.

An auto insurance quote does not include a stipulation for an appraisal, nor are there different levels of appraisal conducted – it is simply a facet of the industry. While the auto body mechanic seeks ways to repair a vehicle, an appraiser seeks to limit the amount of loss suffered by the insurance company. This means that not only will they be extremely detailed in their report about the extent of damage to the car; they will also make sure that the mechanic repairs only the damage caused by the accident, and will be very thorough about evaluating the total value of the car versus the cost of repair.

Although the claims process can be difficult and lengthy, depending on the nature of the accident, it is necessary to ensure that both parties are fairly treated and the insurance company is not defrauded. When examining any auto insurance quote, bear in mind that it is their service after an accident, not the initial price that makes all the difference.