As if getting into an accident isn’t bad enough, now you have to deal with your car insurance company to agree upon a fair payment that will cover the cost of repairing the vehicle. Your insurer deals with this every day, but this is likely only the first or second time you’ve had to wrestle with such negotiations. Follow this advice to empower yourself when speaking with your insurance company after a collision.
Research Repair Costs
When you file a claim, an adjuster is assigned to your case. This person’s job is to determine how much it will cost to fix your car, and then make you a payment offer. To help you assess whether you’re being offered enough to cover the costs, you may want to get a repair estimate from a trusted body shop in Chicago.
If the offer you’re given is below the repair estimates you received, you don’t have to accept it. You can negotiate to seek a better settlement. Have a figure in mind, as well as the lowest amount you would accept, with the goal of engaging constructively with your insurance company and avoiding legal action.
Beware of “Betterment”
Your adjuster might argue that installing new parts on your older vehicle increases its value. As a result, you may receive a lower payment offer that reflects the perceived increase in value. To counter betterment claims, you need to prove the parts don’t increase the car’s worth with testimony from your mechanic or an expert witness.
Working with a Total Loss
Moderate to severe damage may total your car, meaning the cost to repair it exceeds its market value. To argue this claim, you need to prove the car is worth more than the adjuster determined, such as by showing evidence that the aftermarket modifications you’ve made raise the car’s worth.
If the assessment that your car is totaled seems fair, you can take what your insurance company is offering and either pay for the remaining repair costs out of pocket or hand over the car to your insurer. You might also have the option of accepting a lower settlement and keeping the car, allowing you to repair it as a hobby or sell it for scrap.
Confirm the Offer in Writing
Once negotiations are complete, request written confirmation from your insurance company of the offer you accepted. This document should succinctly outline the settlement amount and what funds are being used to repair the vehicle, if applicable.
Gear up for Higher Premiums
If you don’t have accident forgiveness, or you receive citations for multiple offenses, your premiums might go up by 50 to 80 percent. You can change insurers at any time, but don’t expect to find a lower rate if you were in an at-fault accident.
To request a collision repair estimate, please contact B&L Automotive Repairs at (773) 463-1622. We’ll work with your insurance company to facilitate the claims process and relieve some of the pressure during this stressful time.