Do You Need To Resolve An Insurance Company Dispute?
If you have owned a car, and paid for car insurance, for any length of time, you have probably had some issue you wanted to take up with your insurance company. There are any number of reasons that consumers become dissatisfied with their insurers. Sometimes, it is confusion over billing, or even an actual billing mistake. But more likely, people get upset when they do not feel like an insurance claim was paid fairly.
If you are having problems with your own insurer, you may want to look into finding another insurer with a better claims handling record. You are free to find a new company at any time. Of course, that will only help you next time you have an accident. You still probably want to address your current situation.
Call Your Insurer Or Agent
In my opinion, the first thing you should do is to contact your insurance company or agent to find out why the claim got settled the way it did. Sometimes a simple phone call can clear up the problem.
The claim settlement could have been an error. A lot of communication goes on between many different parties. Somewhere, between a body shop, claims adjuster, and you, there could be an error.
I have discovered that claims adjusters do have some discretion when they settle bills. I have called to protest the settlement for a car that was declared a total loss before, and actually gotten the adjuster to increase my payment.
You may be able to resolve your issue with a simple phone call, email, or letter. If you cannot get satisfaction, you can still get information. Find out how the claims decision was made, and be sure to take notes. Gather any documentation that you can.
Contact Your State Insurance Department
Each US state has an insurance department, and most insurance is regulated at the state level. If you contact your own state’s department, they will listen to you, and they will look into the matter. You can expect to get a very informative reply back, and you may even get the problem handled if your insurer actually did clearly break a rule. These departments were set up to regulate insurers and protect resident consumers.
Call A Lawyer
In my opinion, this should probably be the last step, though you are free to take it at any time. Lawyers can get expensive, and you may be taking a big risk. However, many lawyers will work on a contingency fee basis. Most of them will also offer you a free, initial consultation and good advice about how worthy your case would be. After all, if the attorney intends to work on a contingency basis, they only want to take cases that they can have a chance to win!
The amount of the difference between what you think you should get paid, and what the insurer wants to pay, will determine how far you take your case. You should know that you do have rights, under the law, and you may be able to get a fairer settlement.