August 14, 2011

How To Negotiate A Total Loss Car Insurance Claim

Many drivers dread the prospect of making a total loss car insurance claim, but it can be a very simple process. The first step of a total loss car insurance claim involves speaking with an insurance claims agent and answering questions about a vehicle's options, including the type of engine it had, permanently installed equipment like CD players and speakers, whether the vehicle had power seats and windows, etc. Drivers should be honest when explaining a vehicle's options, as car insurance assessors will be able to verify much of the information that a driver gives over the phone.

Once the claims agent has enough information, he or she will be able to find the market value of a vehicle, which will be used during the claims negotiation process. A driver can research a vehicle's blue book value before the claims process begins to get a rough idea of the vehicle's market value, but it's important to note that insurance companies may use several information sources when deciding market value–their total loss amount may end up higher or lower than the vehicle's listed blue book value. However, it should be roughly similar.

Once the value of a vehicle has been established, a driver will need to speak to a total loss claims agent to negotiate a payout. This is usually a simple process, but it helps to prepare. Drivers should know the value of their vehicle and how their car insurance policy works, especially deductibles. It helps to give the total loss agent as much information as possible, such as amounts of any outstanding loans on the vehicle. Total loss experts usually try to be helpful and have an interest in getting a fair amount of money for the claimant, because they want to get the claimant to keep buying insurance. Drivers should try to get a fair deal, but pressing a total loss expert for more money is usually a pretty fruitless effort. Total loss experts can only offer a certain amount of money to each claimant, so the best tactic for all involved is to move the process along as quickly as possible.

If the claimant and the total loss car insurance expert come to an agreement about the value of a vehicle, a check will be issued almost immediately. In most cases, a total loss claim is surprisingly easy to negotiate, as there are few variables involved. Once the value of a vehicle has been established and it's clear that repairs would either be impossible or more expensive than the vehicle's value, a total loss claim can be resolved very quickly.