What Happens If the Insurance Company Underestimates the Cost to Repair My Car?
You’ve had an auto accident, your car needs to be fixed, and the insurance company refuses to pay for the full amount quoted by the dealership or mechanic. What do you do?
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Negotiation Is Possible
Insurance companies are similar to marketplaces, and claims can be negotiated. It will require some information to navigate any challenges to a claim promised by an insurer. A statement written to the insurance company stating your demand for revisions can sometimes be helpful.
You may want to include repair quotes from several local dealerships.
You can do this personally, but if you are approaching an insurance provider that is not your own, it would be prudent to have a lawyer write the statement on your behalf. Lawyers can keep insurers from sidetracking you with wordy tangents that are meant to deter even stout clients from pursuing claims.
Some Insurers Negotiate with Dealerships
Auto insurance companies with good agents will sometimes intervene and negotiate a dealership’s quote themselves. This cuts you out as the middleman and usually guarantees that the car will receive full coverage. When this happens, an insurance company may demand that you visit a mechanic of their choosing.
Some insurance agencies will use car mechanics they trust to quote the repairs and set your claim amount based on the mechanic’s evaluation. On the other hand, the selling point of some car garages is that they negotiate with all insurance companies. These dealerships will fight on your behalf even after the claim check is issued.
Keep in mind that a claims adjuster working for an insurance company usually doesn’t understand car mechanics and typical industry pricing for repairs. They will make the assumption that you lack this knowledge, too. In the end, their company will look to spend the least amount possible on your claim.
What to Look Out For
Insurance companies don’t have your best interests at heart. If they demand you use a certain mechanic there are some basics rules that can help protect you.
- Make sure the shop is using OEM manufacturer replacement pieces
- Ensure they have a repair warranty
- Have a second dealership you trust review the repairs
When to Hire Help
Always hire a personal injury lawyer when faced with personal injury. Medical costs are challenging and become even more so when payment responsibility is tossed between your auto insurance and medical insurance companies.
If a company provides a claim you feel is too low, it never hurts to simply ask why. Most insurance agencies faced with an appeal to their claim’s payout will immediately offer resistance. This does not mean you shouldn’t pursue your claim.
Remember the cost of your preferred mechanics. There’s a chance that the insurance company won’t match their price, so it pays to get multiple quotes to provide solid evidence for the true cost of the repairs. If personal negotiation fails and the insurance company refuses to acknowledge the obvious value of your totaled car or repair costs, it’s time to get a lawyer.
If you feel like you’ve been shortchanged by the at-fault provider in a car accident, contact our Houston law office at (713) 500-5000. He has years of experience as a personal injury lawyer. Consultation with Brian is free of charge, so contact him with any questions regarding underestimations of your claim. He can offer advice on what you are owed and how to best proceed.