How to Dispute a Car Insurance Claim?

January 27, 2012

Insurance companies are in business to make money and do not always like to pay out on a car insurance claim. Even after you file all your reports and forms and their appraiser has seen the car, they still might not want to pay your claim. Other times the insurance will offer to pay, but they will offer less than the cost to have the repairs done correctly.

The following are things you can do to dispute the car insurance company's refusal or lowered claim payment. Make sure you have a file at your disposal of all documentation concerning your claim. If you need to file a dispute about your claim; the following are steps to help you dispute the claim:

Step 1 - Get an Independent Appraiser

Find an independent appraiser to evaluate your vehicle. Many insurance companies usually require this in the event of a dispute. Make sure this appraiser is not under contract or works for your car insurance company. Have the appraiser send his report to both you and your insurance company.

Step 2 - Request Mediation

If you do not get results after phone calls to the insurance complaint department, request your dispute to be heard by a mediator.  Mediation is when your dispute is heard by an independent person. This person is usually an attorney. This is less expensive than arbitration and you do not need to hire an attorney for this process. He will review your claim and estimates and submit their advice to you and the car insurance company. Mediation is not binding and you will still be able to take it to the next level if you're not dispute is not resolved.

Step 3 - Go to Arbitration

As a final resort, you can submit your case for arbitration. You will need to hire an attorney and present the arbitrator with your case. You should bring any witnesses to the accident and your appraiser's evaluation. The person overseeing the arbitration is usually an auto appraiser and he/she will be presented with both sides of thecase. It's the arbitrator's job to review both appraisals and come to a decision about the claim. Arbitration is binding: whatever the decision--it is final.