Whenever an accident occurs that causes damage to a vehicle or injuries to its passengers, an insurance claim will be filed.

What happens during the claims adjustment process can vary widely, and depends on the insurance company, state regulations and even the type of insurance policy.  Understanding this process and knowing what to expect from your insurance company’s claim adjuster is a good idea before you select an insurance provider.

We all assume the insurance company will bring us peace of mind and financial security. With some companies, however, there can be surprises during the adjustment process that can lead to added stress.

Coverage Limits

The coverage limits of your policy plays a large role in the claims adjustment process, because the policy’s coverage specifies how much a claim can be filed for. If you are in an accident and the other driver carries a policy that provides $250,000 medical liability coverage, you may be able to claim up to $250,000 to help pay your medical expenses.

Claims adjusters, however, are charged with minimizing the cost to the insurance company as they assess and resolve the claim. This means they will look for reasons why the full amount is not warranted.

Documenting the Damage

Having the proper documentation is often the difference in getting the money you deserve and getting short changed during the claims adjustment process.

This doesn’t just mean taking pictures of damage and injuries. You should have photos of your vehicle’s condition before the damage, as well as documentation for everything that could be damaged or stolen within the car. Photos, receipts or appraisals can all help you get these items replaced.

Investigating an Accident

Claims adjusters investigate each claim that is filed with an insurance company. They determine the value of the vehicle, look at the police and injury reports and may even interview witnesses. They must determine who was at fault in the accident. Some states, such as New York, do not require a determination of fault because insurance companies are required to protect their policy holders either way.

Regulation of the Industry

In almost every state, insurance agents must hold a license to be able to do business.  This regulation is an important part of ensuring consumers are protected from unfair or fraudulent insurance practices.   Organizations such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners makes sure that each states insurance department  administers consumer protections dealing with proper business conduct and insurance contract regulation.

Knowing how your auto insurance claims adjuster handles each claim is an important part of making sure you maximize an insurance settlement.  If you don’t have the money to hire a private lawyer, there are public claims adjusters that can be hired to work for you and handle the negotiation process so you can receive a fair reimbursement.