If you have been in a car accident and need to get your vehicle repaired, you may be shocked to find out that your insurance company is not willing to pay the full amount of your collision repair. Why is this happening and what can you do about it?
There are several reasons why insurance companies may try to reduce the amount they pay for collision repair. Some of these reasons are:
- They have a preferred network of repair shops that offer them discounts or incentives. If you choose a different shop, they may not cover the full cost of the repair or the parts used.
- They use a software program to estimate the damage and the repair cost. This program may not account for all the factors that affect the repair quality, such as the type and age of your vehicle, the location and extent of the damage, and the availability and price of the parts. The person using the program may also have lack of experience or training to use the program or understand the repair needed.
- They may claim that some of the damage was pre-existing or unrelated to the accident. For example, they may say that your bumper was already dented or that your windshield had a crack before the collision.
- They may argue that some of the repairs are not necessary or reasonable. For example, they may say that you don't need to replace a part that is still functional or that you can use a cheaper alternative.
If you disagree with your insurance company's estimate or decision, you have some options to challenge it and get the full amount of your collision repair. Some of these options are:
- Get a second opinion from another reputable repair shop. You can compare their estimate with the one from your insurance company and see if there are any discrepancies or errors.
- Negotiate with your insurance company. You can present them with evidence and arguments to support your claim, such as photos, receipts, invoices, warranties, and testimonials. You can also ask them to explain their reasoning and criteria for their estimate or decision.
- Hire a public adjuster, also known as an “appraisal clause” or “RTA”. A public adjuster is a professional who works on your behalf to negotiate with your insurance company and get you the best possible settlement. They charge a fee for their service, but it may be worth it if they can get you more money than you would on your own.
- File a complaint with your state's insurance department. If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith or violating any laws or regulations, you can report them to the authorities and seek legal action.
Getting into a car accident is stressful enough without having to deal with an uncooperative insurance company. However, you don't have to accept their lowball offer or their denial of your claim. You have rights and options to fight for the full amount of your collision repair. Don't let them take advantage of you and make sure you get what you deserve.