Shout Out: ‘Confessions of an Auto Claims Adjuster’

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An anonymous former claims adjuster explains how the system works. And he knows what he’s talking about: When a friend totaled a Mini Cooper, his advice helped the friend get $1,500 more than the insurance company’s original offer.

An excerpt:

If a customer challenged me, I had a few lines I would always use. I’d start by saying something like, “I think our appraisal looks good. I’m sorry it doesn’t satisfy what you think it’s worth.” But then, if they still didn’t agree, I would say, “Here’s what I can do. I can go up another $500 if you are willing to settle.” And sometimes that worked.

Just remember, the auto claims adjuster wants to settle your claim. They have a heavy caseload, and they are looking to close 40 cases a month. So there is always about a $500 window where they can settle a claim immediately. If a claimant pushes for more money, it might take longer to get approval while the adjuster gets a signature from their supervisor.

Also, some real dirt:

Avoiding the “Preferred” Repair Shops
You should also be prepared for the auto claims adjuster to try to steer you toward their preferred body shop. We would tell our clients, “We would like to help you get your vehicle repaired and we do have a list of preferred shops that we would like for you to use. They are all certified and do top-of-the-line work.”

My recommendation is to ignore this offer and go with the shop you want. If possible, take your car to a shop that specializes in your make of car. If you have a fairly new car, like a 2007 Honda Accord, take it to a Honda body shop. I can tell you right now our preferred shops, once a month, came around and bought us lunch and gave us little gifts to get us to push business their way. If the vehicle was going to be repaired we would push people toward one of our shops.

Read the rest at Edmunds.