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Tips for Disputing an Insurance Claim

If you know anything about the auto insurance industry, you know that in most cases you will not receive what you feel you are entitled to when filing a car insurance claim. Car insurance companies are just like any other business. They have one thing in mind and that is to make money. What does that mean for you? It means that they are going to do everything in their power to compensate you the very minimum. So if you were involved in an automobile accident and were determined to not be at fault, be prepared to experience some resistance when receiving a fair settlement amount.

Independent Appraiser

If the dispute is based on how much the insurance company is willing to pay to cover the damage done to the vehicle in a car accident, its always best to hire an independent appraiser. When hiring an independent appraiser makes sure that they are in no way affiliated with the insurance company because their judgment will be clouded. Here are some things you should find out before hiring an independent appraiser:

  • If they are state licensed appraisers?
  • Are they Court Approved experts
  • Will they be willing to appear in court as an expert witness?
  • Do they offer physical inspection of the damage done to the vehicle

The independent appraiser is an impartial judge to the value, damage and condition of the vehicle involved in the accident. Theyll evaluate damages occurred; provide a report to both you and the insurance company.

Request a Mediator

If the independent appraisal of the vehicle fails to make leeway with the insurance company, your next step would be to request that a mediator, or an independent party, weigh in on the dispute. Usually, the mediator is an attorney. You do not have to hire an attorney. This mediator will listen to both sides of the case; theyll review the claim and estimates. The mediator will then submit their suggestions to the insurance company. They are responsible for coming up with a solution that satisfies both parties. In most cases, mediation often works best without the need for attorneys and court appearances.

Arbitration

When the above steps have failed, your last resort will be to request that your case be submitted for arbitration. You will need to acquire the services of a lawyer, experienced in handling these types of cases. Your lawyer will aid in presenting the case to the arbitrator and help you negotiate a fair settlement amount. During arbitration you should have any witnesses to the accidents come and give their testimony. You should also have the report from the independent appraiser and if possible you should have the appraiser come in as your expert witness. The appraiser will present both sides of the case for the arbitrator. The arbitrator is responsible for evaluating the information presented by the appraiser and makes a decision regarding the claim. A decision made in arbitration is final and legally binding.