Getting involved in a car accident can be frustrating especially when you suffer an injury and your car gets seriously damaged. You can hire a personal injury attorney to help you file a personal injury claim and get compensation for the medical bills associated with the injury. On the other hand, you may be able to handle property damage claims without hiring a lawyer.
If you get involved in an accident that didn’t occur because of your fault and your car suffers damage, you can make a property damage claim with the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident. The insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to take care of your claim. Your communication regarding the damage your vehicle sustained will be with the insurance adjuster.
After you have filed a claim, the insurance adjuster will contact you to start the process of the claim. They will be responsible for paying you for the repairs that had to be made to fix the damage. If your car is damaged beyond repair, the insurance adjuster will determine the total value of your car and pay you for the total value of your vehicle.
In this post, we’ll explain how the value of your car is determined by the insurance company.
Table of Contents
How the Insurance Adjuster Determines the Value of the Auto Claim?
It is essential to understand how the condition and value of your car are evaluated by the insurance adjuster after a car accident. The first thing the adjuster will do is ask you where your vehicle is located. Was the vehicle towed anywhere or did you drive it to your home?
Then, the insurance adjuster will send an estimator to check the condition of your vehicle and make an estimate for repairs. The estimator will carefully assess the damage and will try to determine if there is any damage that isn’t related to the recent accident. For example, there may be markings on your car that didn’t result from the accident. The vehicle may be deemed a total loss by the estimator based on their evaluation. The report of the estimator will be used by the insurance adjuster to make their decision about your car’s value.
The adjuster will determine the total value of your car before the collision. The value before the accident is important if your vehicle needs to be repaired or if it’s declared a total loss. The insurance adjuster will estimate the value of your vehicle based on the total value of other similar vehicles in your area. This is called the true market value. The insurance adjuster determines this value by checking the actual sales that took place in the area. The insurance adjuster will use the assessment of the estimator to determine the condition of your car before the accident.
If the car was damaged before the accident or repairs were made to the car, it would diminish its value. The insurance adjuster can obtain information about the repairs that were made previously on the car by seeing the car repair records. The insurance adjuster will also require you to provide the mileage when the accident occurred. The reason is that if the mileage is high, the market value will be low. Finally, if it is determined that the cost of repairs would be very close or even higher than the actual value of your car, then your car will be considered a total loss.
If your vehicle is repairable, the insurance agent will contact you to ask where you would like your car to be repaired. Insurance companies will recommend some repair shops, but the decision is up to you. The purpose of repairs is to get your car back to its original condition before the collision.
Thus, you won’t be given payment for repairs that aren’t related to the car accident. The insurance company will only pay you for the damage that resulted from the accident. If the car is deemed totaled by the adjuster, you will be given a check for the total value of your car that has been determined by the insurance adjuster.
What Happens When You Aren’t Satisfied with the Valuation?
Sometimes insurance companies don’t give a fair value for the damaged vehicle. If you aren’t satisfied with how the insurance adjuster has valued your vehicle and feel that the value is too low, there are a few strategies that you can use to negotiate the value. You may try to negotiate by suggesting that the vehicles used by the adjuster to estimate your car’s value aren’t similar to your vehicle.
In this case, you must provide explanations and evidence as to why. You should also hire your own estimator to evaluate the value of your car. The estimator can help you determine whether your car has been valued too low. You can provide the report of your own estimator to the insurance company for negotiating the value of your car.
If you aren’t able to negotiate the value of your vehicle and the insurance company isn’t providing you a fair value, you should hire a car accident attorney to take the car accident case to the court. If the insurance company isn’t giving you a fair value, a car accident attorney can fight against them in the courtroom.
A car accident lawyer will collect all the evidence on your behalf including the report of the estimator to prove to the jury that the insurance company isn’t giving you a fair value. If the jury gives the verdict in your favor, then the insurance company will have to pay you a fair compensation.