How Do Car Insurance Companies Investigate Accident Claims?

Chris Davis
Founder, Davis Law Group

After filing a claim with an insurance company, a representative from the company will typically contact you promptly after the accident has occurred to ask you and any other potential witnesses for more detailed information about the accident. In most cases, it will be a claims or insurance adjuster, and this person will investigate your claim on behalf of the carrier itself.

insurance adjusters car accidentsNext, the auto insurance adjuster may ask you to clarify the initial information you gave and probe deeper to gain a fuller understanding of what happened with the car accident. As part of the investigation, the adjuster may and likely will ask for any of the following pieces of information:

  • Images or photos of your car;
  • To inspect your car for damages;
  • A visit to the accident scene to determine all potential contributing factors and circumstances;
  • Contact information that you obtained for the other driver at the accident scene;
  • Statements from witnesses or other passengers in your car;
  • Request you send a copy of the police report for review.

It is helpful to be prepared with any of these things to help ensure the adjustor to help your case. These pieces of information can make it much easier for the adjuster to determine what happened and who is at fault. No matter what, the adjuster will review your policy and make sure your claim is covered and see if the possible expenses exceed your coverage limits.

How Do You Evaluate Damages From A Car Accident?

Depending on the accident, the adjuster may request you take your car to one of its approved body shops for an estimate or ask of you to go to a shop of your choice and obtain some quotes. It is important to keep in mind that you have the freedom to perform the repairs at any shop of your choice, but you may have to pay the difference between the shop’s estimate and the amount the insurer feels is a reasonable price.

After evaluating all the appropriate information, the adjuster determines if you have a valid claim and how much the insurer is willing to pay out. Specifically, your claim could go one of two ways; if your claim only involves property damage and you’re going to have the repairs completed at an insurer-approved auto repair shop, then the repair shop will typically bill the insurance company. In most cases, your policy will include a deductible that you must pay, while the insurance company will cover the difference.

If your accident resulted in you suffering some form of personal physical injury, the insurance adjuster will also negotiate an appropriate settlement with you in order to reimburse you for the losses you suffered as a result of the car accident. In these cases, the insurance adjuster is more likely to push back on your attempts to negotiate fair settlement offer.

Why Do Insurance Adjusters Push Back On Claims?

Because insurance companies have a financial incentive for pushing back against the claims of their own policyholders, the process of negotiating with an adjuster can quickly become confusing and even downright frustrating. Insurance companies are motivated by their own profitability, which is why it benefits them to pay out as little as possible to a person who makes a claim.

For more information about the dishonorable business tactics that are common among U.S. insurance companies, please see our exclusive report, “Unsurance: The Ugly Truth About Unethical Business Practices in the U.S. Insurance Industry.

In situations where a person has suffered a high level of damages as a result of an accident, the push back from the insurance company can sometimes be too complicated to pursue alone. Consulting with a personal injury attorney could benefit victims who are experiencing this kind of push back from an insurance adjuster, and an experienced lawyer may actually also be able to add value to the claim.