Get Your Car Claim Paid

If there is any problem with an insurer that really creates stress, it's the whole issue of getting a valid claim paid. The most frequent type of claim? Well, unless you live in hurricane-battered Florida, the most likely type of claim that you will file in a lifetime is an auto insurance claim.

People are always complaining about how difficult it is to get a claim paid, or get a fair price for a wrecked car or car repair.

Auto insurance is a strange type of insurance. You aren't just insuring a belonging against possible damage or theft, you are also insuring you and your driving skill! It's also a type of insurance where premiums are constantly going up, although I recently blogged on the fact that Florida drivers may soon get a break on car insurance rates.

If getting cheaper rates are your biggest issue, check out our section on how to get auto insurance discounts. You can also take a look at a few of our site's sponsors, if you are ready for a new auto insurer.

However, if you like your insurer and don't need a change, the next thing to prepare for is the possibility of a claim. After all, you want to get the right value for that gas-guzzling depreciating asset! So, here are some steps that you can take -- before and after that car claim comes up -- to ensure that you get a fair shake when an insurance adjuster comes to call.

1. Keep a set of current photos of your vehicle, taken from all angles, when the vehicle is freshly washed and in good light! In today's world where digital photos are quick and easy (and cost you nothing to keep on your computer), you really don't have an excuse. Don't have a digital camera yourself? Borrow the neighbour's!

2. Keep receipts from all your auto repairs and regular maintenance. Just bought new tires? Keep the receipt! This documents the fact that your vehicle should be worth the maximum amount for a vehicle of its age.

3. Know how much your vehicle is worth. Keep up to date with current prices with one of the reputable car rating books or magazines. The "blue book" value is a generally recognized authority.

4. Know your car's mileage! This is particularly critical if your vehicle is going to be "written off" and the odometer is damaged or unreadable. A car with lower mileage should be worth more.

5. Already got a claim? Here's a step that you don't want to avoid: while you might expect your insurer to do all the legwork, it can be worth your time and effort to get at least 3 quotes for fixing your vehicle's damage. By doing that, you give yourself a better chance of getting a big enough settlement for a quality repair job. Pick reputable auto shops that do good work; then get a quote from each. This isn't about saving you money; it's about getting the right job done.

Despite the fact that you've paid for a service from your insurer, no insurance company will ever be "your buddy". The more knowledgeable and informed you are, the more likely you get treated well when the time comes for your insurer to provide the service you've paid for.

Monique L. Attinger

Posted by on April 25,2007 at 9:43 AM

Thanks for the update, Don! This is exactly the kind of information that we need to share with each other, so that we can find an insurer that will treat us fairly when a claim comes up.

Posted by Don on April 23,2007 at 10:52 AM

If you are with Nationwide Mutual Indeminity, I would look around for another insurance company right away.  Nationwide will use everything to avoid paying a auto claim in Florida.  I am getting a lawyer to take my claim to arbitration or an eventual lawsuit.  I switched to State Farm and the rates are lower and I hope they will cover me if I should ever have a loss again (GOD Forbid).

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