You’ve just been in an auto accident and now your vehicle needs to be fixed. Now, you’re facing a vehicle insurance company that is now refusing to pay you the full amount quoted by your mechanic or your dealership. What do you do? Let’s examine some practical ways that will help you get the money you need and deserve when insurance repair estimate too low.
How Do I Handle An Insurance Company When Their Repair Estimate Is Too Low?
Check out some of the ways you can take on your insurance company, when they give you an offer to fix your car, that you know is just too low.
Determine the value of your vehicle
When you know the true value of your vehicle, you are better equipped to negotiate with the car insurance company. After your car accident, the car will then go to a vehicle claims adjuster. He or she will then determine how much money it will cost to repair it. Depending on the kind of claim filed, there are two kinds of benefits that you can receive. The first of them is first-party benefits, and the second is third-party benefits.
After the accident, you will either discuss your claim with your own company for first-party benefits. If the claim is a third-party benefit claim, you will then discuss the accident with the driver’s car insurance company. It’s important to note that the vehicle adjuster will have no incentive to the full amount in either case. Therefore, you as the car owner need to know the TRUE value of your vehicle so that you will know if you are receiving a decent deal or not. We advise that you receive a few estimates from several sources, in addition to getting the true value of your car. Sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds can help you receive a true estimate of your vehicle. You have the right to refuse any figure the adjuster gives you, if it does not match the estimates you have received.
Negotiate with the car insurance company
If the offer of initial insurance repair estimate is too low from the claim adjuster compared to the estimates mechanics gave you, then you may need to enter into negotiations with the insurance company. Does it mean that you have to file a lawsuit against your car insurance company? Not really. It is to the benefit of both you and the car insurance company to come to some sort of agreement to avoid the costs of a lawsuit litigation. So, now is the time to negotiate with your car insurance company, before heading to court. Many times, car insurance companies are willing to do this. They don’t want to go to court over an estimate of your car.
Once you begin negotiations with the insurance company or your vehicle claims adjuster, you want to make sure that you have a specific settlement in mind. You also want to have minimum settlement that you will accept. You want your high and low numbers and figures to reflect the estimates you have from both your mechanic as well as your Internet searches. As negotiations continue, keep in mind that you want to have a level head, be polite yet firm, and have figures that support the monies you desire.
What are some other tips that will help me get a higher value for my car?
Check out additional tips that will help you obtain a higher value for your vehicle.
- You may want to emphasize the emotional aspects of your argument. You can put a “human” spin on your case. For example, if you have pictures of the damages of your car, gather them and show them to the claims adjuster. You also want to discuss how the car accident has impacted your life. Did you also suffer any physical injuries? Show that to the claims adjuster as well.
- If you think that you don’t have the time, energy or the knowledge base to effectively present your argument to your car insurance claims adjuster, then you may want to hire an attorney to assist. Depending on the amount, you may want to take the car insurance company to small claims court. This will help you avoid costly attorney fees and such. As long as you have estimates from reputable mechanics, give small claims a shot. Small Claims court doesn’t allow attorneys to be present, but there is nothing that prevents you from getting a few helpful tips from an attorney.
Why Do Insurance Companies Lowball?
Your insurance repair estimate is too low. Many car insurance companies know that in the aftermath of a car accident, the accident victim is angry, frustrated, fearful of what’s to come and generally unnerved. Unfortunately, insurance companies play into the vulnerabilities of accident victims. So, the claims adjuster will attempt to lowball you and get you to settle in a hurry. They don’t want you to do any research on your case or think about the best estimate you can receive.
How Do Insurance Companies Estimate Car Damage?
Once your car insurance adjuster looks at your vehicle, that adjuster will take pictures of your car, and all of the areas on the car that have damage. After the adjuster is done with the picture taking, he or she will then write an estimate based on the parts and the labor to repair your car. Your adjuster will work to receive a best price match for your car. That adjuster will use computers and vehicle estimate software to achieve this figure. Body shops and repair shops utilize the same vehicle estimate software, so the cost of parts should be the same across the board. Labor rates will vary based upon where you decide to get your car fixed. Therefore, the estimate you receive from your adjuster may vary from the various estimates you got from various body shops and mechanics.
Should you have a body shop that is not able to fix your car based on the estimate presented, the shop may decide to file a supplemental request with the car insurance company. Your insurance company will then look at the amount of the estimate and then work on negotiations for a new price with the body shop. Regardless the cost of your repairs, you will be required to pay the deductible to the body shop once repairs to your car are done. Was the accident caused by someone else? Then you may be able to even collect funds later from the at-fault car insurance company. If the car accident happened in Michigan, it is important to note that Michigan has “no fault insurance”.
How Long Does It Take For Your Insurance To Fix Your Car?
With the easiest car repair and body repair cases, you can have your car back in as little as one or two weeks. More complex cases may take a month or even longer. Keep in mind that your car isn’t the only one that has to be fixed at the shop. Body shops may be backed up or you may experience some other delay. If your car is drivable while you wait to get it fixed, you may opt to do such. Most folks don’t want to drive a damaged car. It looks bad and you are reminded of the accident that you had in it.
How Do I Choose a Body Shop That Is Under My Car Insurance Network?
Now comes the difficulties of choosing the best body shop that is under the umbrella of your car insurance company. Check out some helpful tips on getting the best body shop to bring your car back to “showroom condition.”
Choose a body shop that is certified to repair your particular vehicle
Call your insurance company once you find a body shop that you want to work with. The body shop should be certified to handle the repair and should be under the umbrella of your car insurance company. If the body shop is not in your car insurance’s network of body shops, you then run the risk of your insurance company not backing you if you encounter a botched body repair.
Check out the reviews your body shop has
After you have certified that the body shop is legit and can handle your repair, you want to see what others are saying about the body shop. The best way to do this, is to read Google as well as Yelp reviews.
Call or visit the body shop and discuss the repair
After you have your body shop in mind, call or visit the body shop. We recommend a visit. You want to discuss the repair of your car with a manger. Find out what kind of workload the body shop has. How long will the repair take? What will they do to fix your car? What kind of warranty or guarantee will you have after the repairs are complete? These questions need to be asked of the body shop as you look to have the best car repair and restorers fixing your car. You owe it to yourself to have the best of the best. So, breathe, take your time and choose the best body shop that will work within your guidelines.
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