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What Is A Car Insurance Claims Adjuster?

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If you never file a loss on your car insurance, you’ll never deal with a car insurance claims adjuster.  Even for those who do, the exposure and interaction can be brief and--let’s be honest--not always positive.  You pay their salaries, so it’s only fair you have an idea of who they are.

By nature, a car insurance claims adjuster is assigned to handle most any loss.  They are licensed according to state requirements.  For a low-speed, low-severity claim with no injuries, the adjuster may only ask for damage photos and an estimate to review before repairs begin.  With injuries and greater damage, they may visit you and your vehicle in person and have more one-on-one involvement.  Here are a few more functions they serve.

An investigator.  This can be done entirely online and over the phone from an office or require trips to the field.  The adjuster speaks with all parties involved and coordinates inspections of vehicles involved.  Police reports may be ordered for additional insight, and it may even involve physically visiting the scene to confirm statements given about geographic layout and visibility.

A referee.  One of sorts, at least.  When multiple parties are involved in a claim and the liability doesn’t clearly rest on one party, an adjuster will interview the drivers--often obtaining a recorded statement from each.  Through the proverbial finger-pointing, the adjuster weighs statements, evidence and other factors to arrive at a conclusion of fault.

A resource.  The adjuster may help coordinate damage appraisals, negotiate rates with the body shop and help you obtain a rental car.  They can also answer questions about parts authorized for repairs, how the repair process works, general claim status and payments.  In the event of a total loss, the adjuster will research your car’s market value and calculate final figures.

An ally.  To an extent, anyway.  A car insurance claims adjuster working for your carrier should attempt to cover as much related damage as possible while acting as an advocate for you.  When an impasse occurs between adjusters for each insurance company, the matter goes to an independent arbitrator for conclusion.


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