Generally, most auto insurance companies are good at settling claims. They know how important it is to compensate policyholders in a timely fashion. First step to avoid any problems down the road is to find a reputable insurer. You can check any insurer’s claim payment record with state insurance department. They usually make this information available publicly on their websites or provided it to you on request.
Under What Circumstances Your Claim May Delay?
You need to keep checking with your insurer if they need any form or information from you. Most companies appoint a loss adjuster for claims of fair size. Loss adjusters are the people who take day to day decisions about your claim. They approve garages and repairs and decide about totalling vehicles. Stay in contact with your company to make sure they are not sitting and waiting to hear from you.
Choosing your own body shop for repairs require some work from you. You need to tell the company of your choice and they may need to talk to the garage to make sure repairs are done properly and economically. You may need to get quotes from other auto body shops as well so that loss adjuster can compare the costs.
Putting in a claim to a third party insurer instead of your insurance provider may take longer as well. As you are not their policyholder, they would listen to their own customer and make a decision. Also, they can afford to keep you waiting as you are a third party. Still making a claim with a third party provider helps you keep cheap car insurance rates as you are not claiming on your own policy.
What to Do If You Aren’t Offered a Satisfactory Settlement?
There are cases where claim checks take longer than usual to arrive. There are a few things you can do if this happens to you. Your first contact should be the loss adjuster. It is best to have a civil manner when talking to them. They will want to bring the case to conclusion as much as you want. If there is a misunderstanding you can clear it out there and then hopefully.
Failing to reach to an agreement with the loss adjuster you should contact the company and ask to speak to area supervisor in claims department. Remember that shouting doesn’t take you anywhere. You need to hold your ground and offer your contour argument. Try to get to the bottom of the issue and find a solution.
Still you have no joy, your next step should be to talk to the state insurance department. They will pass your complaint to the company and ask for a response. Companies care about these complaints and state insurance department may have a say in the case if they find irregularities or actions against the current laws.
What to Do If All Fails?
Some companies may suggest some form of arbitration. An unbiased third party tries to consolidate the difference between the insurance company and the policyholder in the arbitration process. This may be an option for you to consider. Hopefully, your policy doesn’t force you to go into arbitration. This should be your choice and not something you should be pushed into.
At any stage, you can choose to have legal representation to argue your case. They can tell you about your chances in the courts. There are many cases in which the policyholders are told to go away by vehicle insurance companies and they managed to get substantial settlement after suing the company. Listen to the lawyer and his reasoning and possibly get a second opinion. Remember that you may end up with further legal costs and no settlement at the end.