Understanding the Insurance Adjuster
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
So many people don’t know what an insurance adjuster does until they are in a serious accident. When you don’t know how insurance adjusters operate, you risk losing out on the maximum compensation for you claim. One thing is certain — insurance adjusters are not there to be your friend.
The Insurance Adjuster’s Job
In the most basic terms, an insurance adjuster’s job is to gather facts and assess the damages in order to determine how much their company will have to pay.
But perhaps the most important part of an insurance adjuster’s job, at least in the eyes of his or her company, is to negotiate a settlement for the smallest amount of money possible. They work for and represent the best interests of their company, not yours.
The Assessment Process
When you’ve been in an accident, the first thing the insurance adjuster will do is call you for your side of the story. They typically record the conversation as a form of documentation, so think about what you’re going to say before they call. That way, you won’t make mistakes or miss an important point.
Once they have the story, the insurance adjuster will look at the damage to your car and asses any injuries you may have. They’ll probably contact your doctor and look over your medical records, which is why it’s so important to document any and all medical treatments you may receive.
Once the insurance adjuster has collected all of the information they need, they’ll contact several mechanics to get an estimate for repairing the damage to your car, including parts and labor. If the cost of repair is more than your car is worth, your car will be written off and the adjuster will quote you a settlement price for replacement. The value of your car is based on its book value, so it may be more or less than the actual value of your car.
If the insurance adjuster determines that it will be more cost effective to repair your car, you will get a quote for the amount the adjuster thinks will cover car repair, as well as medical expenses.
How the Process Affects You
Because the adjustor is looking for the smallest payout for its company, they will more than likely gives you a settlement quote that is less than your claim warrants. It may not even cover your medical bills, or money you lost from being unable to work.
That’s why it’s so important to contact a personal injury lawyer before you accept any insurance company’s offer, particularly if more than your car was damaged. The personal injury attorneys at Berenson & Associates will help you determine if the settlement quote is fair, or if you should pursue more. Call us at (505) 243-4400 today.