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What Is the Role of the Adjuster When You File a Car Insurance Claim?
Home Autos & Trucks Insurance
By: Laura Ginn Email Article
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Once you file a car insurance claim, your insurance provider normally assigns it to a specialist known as an adjuster. From there on out, the adjuster is the person who will work on your claim the most, so it's important that you understand exactly what their role is as you wait for the insurance company's final decision.

Overview

Very generally, the job of an auto insurance adjuster is to make sure that the car insurance claim you filed is valid given the conditions of your policy. People sometimes file with their insurance company without reviewing their agreements, so it's not uncommon for them to want help for something beyond which they are covered. Even if the claim is valid, the adjuster still has to verify that the amount you are asking for is within the policy limits. If it's not, then the adjuster may approve the claim but not at the amount you expected.

Initial Contact

After you file your claim, the adjuster will have some basic information about your accident. The insurance company needs to make sure that all of this information is accurate, so the adjuster will contact you. Most of the time, he or she does this with a simple phone call.

As you talk, the adjuster will go over the facts you gave in your initial claim. These are often fairly clear, but the adjuster will ask questions about what happened if he or she needs to look at your situation more in depth to determine your degree of fault, if any. If needed, the adjuster will request additional documentation from you, or he or she might ask for certain permissions, such as having you release medical records.

Auto insurance adjusters try to get the big picture about accidents, so they will not limit their initial contact to just you. They also get in touch with the others involved in the incident to get their side of the story. They also look to witnesses, and if you or anyone else got hurt, they might also contact medical providers to verify the extent of injuries and the value of the medical services received.

Field Work

In addition to getting on the phone and talking with people directly or indirectly related to the accident, an auto insurance adjuster also has to consider the physical evidence involved in your claim. This isn't necessarily because the adjuster doesn't believe you--it's simply that the insurance company knows that perceptions are not always accurate, especially in the heat of the moment of an accident. He or she often visits the accident scene. The adjuster might take pictures or measurements, or he or she might sketch out what is at the scene in a formal diagram.

Another part of the adjuster's field work is to look at the damage done to the vehicles or other property. The adjuster once again takes pictures and documents what he sees. Often, by piecing together this evidence with the layout of the accident scene, the adjuster can make better sense of how the accident happened.

Putting It Together

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Wanda Thibodeaux appreciates that many drivers worry about making a car insurance claim as they fear it will raise the cost of their premiums. Find out more about making a claim and how if effects your policy at uSwitch.com.

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