In order to legally operate a vehicle in the United States one must have proof of insurance. In most instances, premiums to an insurance company will be paid out that far exceed any payment to accident ratio. However accidents do happen and knowing your rights as a policy holder will make all the difference in the world as you file your claim. Personal stores such as the one I had will keep you on your toes and will hopefully prevent your insurance company from taking advantage of you during your vulnerable state.
From the moment I started to drive I knew that paying for insurance was an inevitable cost of my new luxury. However, I paid my premium under the belief that many also hold, in that car insurance is some sort of savings account in the event of an accident. This belief is clearly wrong and any insurance salesman that pitches it as such should have their license revoked. Nevertheless my unfortunate accident involving my car happened in a parking lot in which it was left unattended. While the time of day and minute details are irrelevant what is very relevant for the purposes of this article was the real damage inflicted on my driver’s side door from an absentminded motorist. Apparently he had not seen my car parked there and backed right into my driver’s side door. The insurance company found the individual 100% at fault, however this is where the horror story truly begins. Upon filing my insurance claim to his insurance company I had to call constantly in order to get anything accomplished. The party at fault had a relatively small insurance company in which the policy was to only allow one claim handler per claim. I found this policy to be ridiculous because as luck would have it, the claim handler would only call minutes before closing and then call out sick. Smaller companies may have cheaper rates, however the ability to deal with multiple agents in order to bring the claim to completion is worth the extra few dollars, and I would side with a large name brand insurance company any day of the week.
Once I was finally able to receive correspondence from the insurance company they sent out an adjuster to survey the damages. Prior to arrival I decided to have a local and reputable body shop also take a look at the extent of the damage just to insure that I wasn’t taken advantage of. The door which turned out to be fiberglass, needed to be replaced and failure to replace the door and merely patch it could ruin the integrity of the door. The total cost of the door with installation turned out to be almost $1000.00 USD. Upon the adjuster’s arrival he looked at the door wrote a $200 dollar estimate for repair and described it as dent removal. When I reviewed the estimate I was shocked. Here in plain sight was a sizeable hole with fiberglass exposed and the adjuster writes it up as dent removal. Long story short, I left the car with the body shop of my choice, the body shop dealt with the insurance company directly and I had my door replaced in no time.
A person looking to avoid the pitfalls of certain insurance companies should remember a few key facts. First and foremost, regardless of how much you pay for a premium, the insurance company is not in business for giving out money. Their goal in mind is to collect payment from you and limit the amount of money issued in the event of a loss. The adjuster will more than likely recommend a “trusted” body shop for you, but you will be much better off choosing a shop of your own. In addition remove the stress in your life and let the professionals handle the dirty work. Body shops that do a lot of business often have a rapport with outside claims adjusters. This in turn will help provide you with the appropriate amount of money to get the job done right. It’s important that you ask your insurance agent the claims filing process and the recovery time after an accident. It’s very easy to get caught up in coverage and monetary amounts but at the end of the day you’re not going to be dealing with the agent you’re going to be dealing with the claims office.