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What is a Claims Adjuster and How do they Determine the Value of my Car?

One of the major issues that people have, when they are involved in a Car Accident, comes when they look at the value of their vehicle as determined by an adjuster.Insurance Adjuster Determining the Value of a Car after an accident.jpg

Most of the time, the value determined by the adjuster is much less than what the victim of the accident believes the vehicle is worth.

After all, the victim remembers how much they paid for the car, how much money they have spent on its upkeep and repairs, and what type of car they would be able to purchase if they except the adjuster's evaluation.

However, just because an adjuster values your car at a certain amount, it does not mean you are not entitled to more compensation.

In order to determine how much compensation you are actually entitled to, we recommend always consulting with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney.

Besides speaking to an attorney, we also recommend understanding the process that adjusters go through when they evaluate a vehicle and injury claim so that you can be sure you are getting a proper evaluation.

In this article, we will explain what an insurance adjuster is, and how they arrive at their evaluation.

What is a Claims Adjuster?

A Claims Adjuster is the person responsible for investigating Insurance Claims by interviewing the parties involved including any witnesses, collecting and analyzing police and medical records, and inspecting property damage in order to determine the value of the claim and the insurance company's liability.

Although it is not a requirement, most insurance adjusters have a bachelors degree in a business related field. Besides usually having a four-year degree, adjusters also have different certifications that include continuing education programs in order to ensure they are qualified to evaluate claims. 

The typical duties that Insurance Adjusters have to accomplish when investigating a claim include:

  • Verifying that the Claimant has an active policy.
  • Investigate Liability.
  • Determining the amount of damages to property or risk of losses, that resulted in the loss of property or injury.
  • Upon completion of the investigation, evaluating the injuries and damages to determine whether or not they are covered under the insurance policy.
  • Determining a value for the property damages and injuries that occurred as a result of the accident.

When dealing with an insurance adjuster, it is important that you understand who they work for, and what type of information you should and should not provide them.

If you are in an accident, the insurance company of the at-fault party will send their own adjuster to investigate.

Remember, this investigator WORKS FOR THE INSURANCE COMPANY and has their best interest in mind, not your.

In many cases, the victims Personal Injury Attorney will hire a Public Adjuster, who work for policyholders, in order to get a second investigation and evaluation of the claim, in order to ensure their client receives a settlement that is fair to them.

Determining the Value of your Vehicle

When an Insurance Adjuster is investigating a claim after a Car Accident, one of the main components they use to determine the value of a claim is the amount of property damage done to the vehicle.Auto accident damages

When your vehicle is damaged in an accident, the most money that you can receive is the Actual Cash Value of the repairs or replacement of the vehicle.

So how do Adjusters determine the Actual Cash Value of your vehicle? 

There are many resources that Claims Adjusters have available to them that they use in order to determine the value of a damaged vehicle.

The first step that the adjuster takes is completing an assessment of all of the damage that has been done to the vehicle.

Once the adjuster has completed the inspection and determined the type and amount of damage done to the vehicle, they must then gather estimates as to the cost of repairs.

It is also important for the vehicle owner to gather their own estimates from multiple body shops, to make sure they are getting accurate prices.

Once the Insurance adjuster has completed their investigation and received quotes for repair costs, they must determine if it is worth it to repair the vehicle, or if it should be totaled.

Generally, if at least 70 percent of the vehicle is damaged, or the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle, the adjuster will decide to total it.

If the vehicle is totaled, then a Fair Market Value is used to decide on how much money the victim will receive for a new replacement vehicle.

Unfortunately, this situation usually results in the victim taking a loss as the replacement vehicle that they get will not be as good as their original car.

However, doing your due diligence when it comes to finding the Fair Market Value of your vehicle can help ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation for your loss.

To find the Fair Market Value of your Vehicle, it is recommended that you:

  • Run a Kelly Blue Book Value with the features of your vehicle.
  • Get Dealership sales reports for your make and model.
  • Gather receipts for repairs, and new parts installations that have been done to your car.
  • Get a Third-party appraisal and compare the amounts.

If you have been in a car accident, it is important to understand what an Insurance Claims Adjuster does and how to deal with them.

Understanding how they operate and the process used to value your property damage is important to makings sure that you get a fair settlement if you need a new vehicle or become involved in a Personal Injury Lawsuit.

The best way to ensure that you receive a fair evaluation and your legal rights are protected is to consult with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney.

A Personal Injury Attorney will be able to complete an investigation of their own and help you receive maximum compensation for your losses.

If you would like to speak with an attorney in your area, click on the link below and receive a free consultation today.

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Topics: Car Accident Questions Help after a Car Accident Helpful Legal Advice