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Tips When Dealing With Insurance Claim Adjustors

If you are in a car accident, do you know what you are supposed to do? Whether it is just an fender-bender or a more serious accident, knowing who to contact is a very important part of making sure you get your car fixed and back on the road quickly. According to Bill Mellander of Allstate, Gail Stewart-Rumsey of Harleysvill, and Brian Brylinski of Progressive, you are serving your own best interests to know what to do at the scene of the accident and how to deal with claims adjusters. Each of these individuals works with their respective insurance companies to provide tips to vehicle owners on how to get through the damage claims process quickly and efficiently.

It is helpful to know, for example, that claims adjusters are often independent contractors. This means they are not employed by any one insurance company, but rather work like a freelancer for many insurance companies in your area. However, some do work for one company only. Regardless of the hiring method, the job of the claims adjuster is to assess the damage to your vehicle, verify that what you have reported is accurate, and determine how much you can claim under your existing insurance policy.

Bill Mellander, the spokesman for Allstate Insurance Company located in Northbrook, IL, says that it is crucial for insured individuals to clearly understand what their auto insurance policy says. He says that insured individuals should know what is covered if they are in an accident, and if they are confused they should call their insurance agent as soon as possible. Having a clear understanding of the policy avoids any confusion after an accident occurs. It also ensures that you as the driver know who to contact if there is an incident to report.

Brian Brylinski of Progressive recommends that the first thing you do if you are in an accident, no matter how severe, is contact the police department. If you can safely do so, wait at the scene of the accident until the officers arrive. This way you can provide information to the police officer and get a copy of the report the officer files about the accident. This report may be required as part of your insurance claim.

Once you are cleared to leave the scene, you need to contact your insurance company. Brylinski says, "It is important that your insurance company knows about the accident. Failure to report the incident could violate the terms of your policy." As the physical damage process manager for Progressive, Brylinski sees many instances where clients are not able to get claims filled out due to not following their policy and correctly reporting the accident. In addition, Brylinksi points out that your insurance agent can be a good source of information about what to do next.

Brylinski also cautions against blowing up at other drivers who were involved in the accident. He states that it is important to use tact with the drivers, but whatever happens you should not discuss the accident with the other drivers. The only person you should discuss such details with is the police officer. The same applies to your insurance coverage. Be patient and polite, but keep your information to yourself. Sharing too much at the scene of the accident could put you at fault when you are not legally liable for any damages caused.

While waiting for the police to arrive, take some time to observe the scene of the accident. According to Brylinski, this will help you to determine several things about the accident that are helpful to claims adjusters. Try to notice if airbags deployed in any vehicles, whether or not they can be driven, or if anyone is injured.

While making observations, Gail Stewart-Rumsey of Harleysville Insurance recommends that motorists write down information they think is important. Drivers should also get the phone number, name address, license number, policy numbers, insurance company contact info, and the make, model, and year of each vehicle and driver involved in the accident. While this information should be included in the police report, having your own copy is helpful for the claims adjuster and your insurance company.

If someone is injured during the accident, and you feel it is partially your fault, you may be tempted to tell the other motorists how sorry you are and how bad you feel about what happened. Stewart-Rumsey cautions against this. If you admit fault at the scene of the accident, you could be held liable for things that, legally, are not your fault. This could lead to lawsuits and costs that you do not need to have. Keep your feelings to yourself, do what you can to make sure everyone is safe, and wait on the police to determine who was at fault. That way you are only held responsible for those things that you should be responsible for according to the law. « back