How to Negotiate with an Auto Insurance Adjuster

June 12, 2013

When an auto insurance adjuster pushes back on a claim, you don't have to accept a reduced offer as final--once you've learned how to negotiate.

Auto Insurance Adjuster

No matter what the circumstance, it is wise to know how to negotiate with an auto insurance adjuster. In the unfortunate event that you or someone in your family is in a car accident, you will be forced to deal with either your insurance company or the insurance company of the party that caused damage to you and/or your property.

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What do car insurance adjusters do?
An insurance adjuster is someone that your insurance company employs to assess the condition of your automobile after an accident. The adjuster will analyze the extent of the damage and work up a report which he or she will submit to your insurance company. This report is an estimate of the amount of money it will cost to fix the vehicle, based on his/her knowledge of parts and labor required for the vehicle in each claim. Put more bluntly, an adjuster has the task of giving you the absolute bare minimum on your car insurance claim. Generally, when negotiating with a car insurance adjuster, they will try to minimize your injuries (whether they are to your vehicle or body). They are trained to downplay your issues, so don't take this personally, as it is the adjuster's job. At first, it might appear that they are not going to back down. If the adjuster concludes that the cost of repair is greater than the value of the car, the report will suggest that the automobile be "written off" and the insurance company can decide to pay the claim in full and send you a check for the blue book worth of the vehicle. However, if the adjuster feels the car can be repaired for a price less than the vehicle's value, then the report will reflect those estimates and the insurance company can cut you a check for the amount of the total damage repair cost.

Negotiating with a car insurance adjuster

Depending on who was at fault for the accident, you will either have to deal with a claims adjuster from your insurance company or the other driver's insurance company. Either way, it can be a nerve-racking phone call. The claims adjuster represents the insurance company, and the insurance company wants to pay out as little money as possible. If you have been injured and/or your car is damaged, you want to get the amount of compensation you feel you are entitled to. In a nutshell, you and the claims adjuster have conflicting interests. Here are some tips for having a successful experience dealing with an insurance claims adjuster.

  • Don't let them rush you. Auto insurance adjusters want to get you to agree to a settlement as soon as possible. Why? Because this is their best chance to get you to agree to a low sum. If you are in a situation where you need money right away, you are more likely to agree to a low sum. However, medical bills and repair bills can add up and the final amount you owe may be much higher than your original estimation. It is best to try to get the claims adjuster to wait until you have all of your final bills in.
  • Be prepared. Before you talk to your insurance claims adjuster, it is wise to have all of your paperwork in order. You will need proof of loss. Look up the blue book value of your car so you know what your car is worth. Have all of your medical bills in front of you. Also, have all of your auto repair bills in front of you. Make sure you know the total sum of all of the money you will have to pay out before you begin to negotiate with your claims adjuster. Also, have your accident report and appraisal clause with you.
  • Consider a lawyer. If you are in a position to do so, it is wise to hire an attorney to represent you. Make sure it is an attorney with experience dealing with car insurance claims. Your insurance claims adjuster deals with car accidents and insurance reports every day. If you are lucky, you will only have to deal with this a few times in your lifetime. Hiring an attorney means you have someone in your corner who knows what they are doing and knows how to deal with claims adjusters. It also sends a message to your claims adjuster that you are well prepared and determined to get a good settlement.
  • Always ask for more than what you want. While your injuries or car damage may be nominal, if you do not negotiate well, you might not get everything that you deserve. Do not be intimidated. Negotiating for what you rightly deserve is your responsibility. Remember that your bodily injury may be a problem you for years to come.
  • Do not spend the money before you receive it. Car insurance adjusters can sense it if you are hungry. Let him or her know that you mean business and that you will wait for the correct amount of the claim. If you know how to negotiate with car insurance adjusters, you will have a better chance of ending up with the deserved amount.
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Insurance claims adjusters can be intimidating, but if you follow these steps you may have an easier time dealing with them.