Have you ever been in a car accident and not sure how your vehicle will be repaired or who will pay for the damages? What if there is personal injury, who will pay the medical bills? Will I have a rental vehicle while my vehicle is getting repaired?
These are all very valid concerns especially if this is your first accident and you have never filed an auto accident insurance claim. In our earlier blog in this series, we discussed car accidents and filing an insurance claim. We discussed information on what to do if you are in a car accident, what information to document, what photos and videos to capture and how to report to your insurance company. We also briefly discussed when an Accredited Claims Adjuster (ACA) would step in and help. In this newest blog we will discuss how the role of an ACA can assist with processing your claim.
The Accredited Claims Adjuster is probably your most important ally in the world of insurance claims. Most of us have purchased auto insurance from somebody, usually it’s a local insurance agent. The individual agent represents several companies that can offer coverage. When and if a person is involved in an accident the individual agent is not the person to call when in an automobile accident. Your phone call should be made to the company that holds your policy, see the backside of your insurance card or your policy for phone numbers to call to start the claim process. Most providers offer an online portal for policy holders to upload their documents to. This includes loading photos, videos, receipts, estimates and any other piece of information that can provide the ACA with more information.
Once your information is loaded into your portal your claim will be assigned to an Accredited Claims Adjuster. It is this person that will carefully review each piece of information you have submitted. For a vehicle accident, the ACA may schedule an appointment at the collision center to review the damages in person, while other times the photos you submitted may suffice. The ACA will assess the repair bills and compare those expenses with the current market value of your vehicle. This person will weigh the repair cost to the replacement cost and determine if the vehicle will be repaired or totaled. If your vehicle is totaled this means the insurance company will not pay to have it repaired. They will send you a check for the reasonable market value for your vehicle and your vehicle will be scrapped. With that payment you can start shopping for another vehicle.
What If I Feel the Value of My Vehicle is Higher than what the ACA Assigns?
The Accredited Claims Adjuster will look at vehicle value comparisons in your area to see what your vehicle is currently selling for. Based on that information and any deductions they may make from the value they will settle on a value for your vehicle. You may have deductions from your vehicle value based on any pre-existing (those that occurred before the accident) damages that can include paint chips, dents, scratches, wear and tear on the interior, etc.
If you truly feel that your vehicle value should be greater you would want to ask the ACA to justify their value and explain the deductions. If you still disagree on the assigned value, you could request for a second adjuster to evaluate your case.
How often can I talk with my assigned Accredited Claims Adjuster?
Frequency is not an issue. Your assigned ACA will provide you their phone number and email address. It’s fair to ask their best available days and times to reach them. As a policy holder you have the freedom to reach out to your adjuster as often as you like to stay up to date on your claim process. Your adjuster will help move the claim through the process and communicate with the repair shop as well as any attorneys that may be involved. Your adjuster will also communicate with the insurance companies for the other people involved in the accident as well.
In the event you are contacted by any of the other people involved in the accident or their insurance agencies or their attorneys we highly recommend getting your Accredited Claims Adjuster involved in those conversations. You are not required to have any further conversations with the other parties. Your ACA will be your advocate. If you have your own attorney, let your attorney also be your advocate.
What Is the Timeline for Processing an Automobile Accident Claim?
Depending on the severity of the accident the claim could drag out anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years or longer. If there is severe injury or life changing injury as a result of the accident, the claim may not be settled for quite some time, a year or longer. All medical bills, scans, x-rays, therapy, diagnostics, prescriptions related to the accident and all mental and physical doctor and therapy sessions will be included in the claim value. If months or years of physical therapy are involved, or several surgeries are involved or therapy sessions are needed to counsel in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), all will take time to work through which will further delay your claim settlement. Injury healing takes a tremendous amount of time so your ACA will not close out the claim until the medical and physical appointments are completed.
There is no recommended timetable from beginning to end of an auto accident claim. The closure of a claim will depend on the severity of the accident. The more severe the longer the entire process will take. We encourage claimants to have open lines of communication with their Accredited Claims Adjuster. The ACA will be your voice throughout the entire claim process.
The ACA is a licensed all lines adjuster position. Those who have earned their license have taken a 40- hour course and are required to pass a final exam before they can apply for their Accredited Claims Adjuster license. Once an individual has earned their license, they are considered an All-Lines Adjuster and are more than qualified to assess insurance claims. For more information on other roles an ACA can fill or how to earn an Accredited Claims Adjuster designation visit online at: https://escconnected.com/accredited-claims-adjuster/
Our team at Educational Services & Consulting welcomes individuals looking to make a career change or those looking to supplement their current income, to learn more about becoming an Accredited Claims Adjuster. For more information call 1-800-309-2549 or visit: https://escconnected.com/.