It can be quite alarming when finalizing payments or repairs through an insurance claim and finding that the claim estimate is coming up short of the bill. Set your worries aside, because we’ve got some tips for how you can address this issue.
The first thing to understand when you have an insurance claim is that the best anyone can do when things are a tangled up mess is to estimate what it will cost to make you whole again based on what they are able to see. Whether it’s medical bills or damage to your auto, home, or business, estimators have limited view and knowledge initially, and it isn’t rare for the repair company to uncover additional damages when they begin disassembling the wreckage.
Auto-body shops, hospitals, and contractors all have systems and customary ways of estimating the value of their services. These systems are not always accurate, as much as we would all like to live in a world where an insurance company could just write a check for the full amount and be done with it. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. These systems and customary charges for labor, parts, or medical supplies and procedures help provide checks and balances to avoid overpaying or underpaying for services, as well as keeping fraud at bay.
What You Can Do
Here are some options if you feel like the insurance company’s estimated figures are inaccurate or unreasonable.
1. Get a second opinion – especially when it comes to auto repairs, it’s not uncommon to get multiple estimates. Insurance companies will typically work with the estimate that is most favorable to the policyholder, so if you have a friend in the industry or can get a couple of different perspectives, it might help your case.
2. Negotiate – if you feel like the insurance company’s offer is unfair, try negotiating. Remember that the insurance company is trying to minimize its payout while restoring you to a pre-loss state. Their figures aren’t arbitrary, so you’ll need to prove why they should be different.
3. Assume the best about your claims adjuster- as they are trained to be thorough and fair. Remember that they make mistakes or miss things just like the rest of us. In some instances, you may consider enlisting the help of a public adjuster. A third-party insurance claim adjuster offers an unbiased and fair assessment of the claim.
4. If you find that initial estimates aren’t going to cover the entire cost of your claim, it is possible to get more money approved on your claim than what you originally applied for. This can happen if the insurance company finds that you have a higher need for benefits than what was originally determined.
If you believe that you are entitled to more benefits, contact the insurance company and request a review of your case. Remember that this isn’t unheard of, and be prepared to show documentation from reputable sources for why the claim needs to be adjusted.