July 10, 2010

Role Of The Adjuster In Auto Insurance Claims

It’s no more fun shopping around for auto insurance quotes than having to contact that auto insurance company in the event of an accident. Fortunately, auto insurance companies have procedures set in place to make the process of repairing your vehicle as seamless and painless as possible. So you’ve contacted your insurance company and filed a claim, what happens next? This is where an auto adjuster comes into play.

The insurance company will send out an auto adjuster to assess damages, and ensure your vehicle is repaired, or in some cases replaced. The auto adjuster has a few key roles, including investigating the claim filed, negotiating financial settlements and making sure the right people get paid. It is their job to know the claimant’s insurance plan, from loss coverage to Federal and state laws. The adjuster will set up an appointment to examine property damages with the appropriate party, depending on if the car was towed or not; he/she will ask you a series of investigative questions, in addition to contacting the police, hospitals and other parties involved in the accident; and he/she will photograph and document statements made. Once a report is made, the auto adjustor will estimate the cost to repair your vehicle by calling several repair shops to get estimates on total repair costs. The auto adjustor then negotiates settlements and issues payment to the correct party.

The adjustor will usually issue two quotes: one from a high-end repair shop, and a second for a cash settlement that gives you the freedom to repair your vehicle at any garage/auto body repair shop you choose. And unless you have a lien holder (in which the check will be issued in both the bank’s and your name), the check will be issue directly to you. In some cases, damages may be beyond repair, or costs may exceed the value of the vehicle. In that case, the car is considered totaled and the adjustor assess the value of your vehicle (based off the book value) and issues a check for the appropriated amount. Keep in mind, the book value doesn’t always equal the car’s worth, or the amount you owe on the car. You can discuss with your insurance agent about adding a clause to your policy if you are concerned about the difference between the two. If you want to dispute any points on the report, you need to contact your auto insurance company; the adjustor’s job is done.

Auto adjustors are equipped with the proper knowledge and skills to get you and your car back on the road. And when shopping around for auto insurance quotes, make sure you choose a policy that offers sufficient accident coverage.