Why Do Car Insurance Claims Get Adjusted?

Corvette parking fail

First came the damage to your car.  Then the body shop had to take photos and write an estimate.  Now your car insurance adjuster wants to butt in to have his say.  Sometimes it feels counterproductive and a waste of time, but there are some important reasons car insurance claims get adjusted.

Damage assessment.  Some car insurance companies have agreements with certain body shops to write estimates on their behalf, eliminating the need for another appraiser or adjuster to inspect the car.  When that’s not the case, your insurance can’t take your word for it and simply cut a check.  Assessing the damage more accurately accounts for the parts needed and time required for work to be done.

Repair cost control.  Body shops typically write estimates based on one of a few industry standards for consistency and efficiency.  But like any industry, when humans are involved, human error will follow.  Parts and labor prices can be mistyped, as an example.  Controlling repair costs and adjusting where necessary to conform with an insurance company’s guidelines ensures fairness to all policyholders and keeps premiums in check.  After all, the more an insurance company pays out overall, the more likely premiums can be affected.

Assignment of liability.  Let’s say you’re rear-ended by another driver.  You could pursue repairs through your own car insurance, but you’d rather not pay your deductible since the collision wasn’t your fault.  You can pursue directly through the other driver’s policy, but have to wait for their adjuster to confirm details and liability with the guilty party.  That can range from minor inconvenience to major ordeal, but it’s still necessary for proper assignment of liability.  If the situation were reversed, you probably wouldn’t want your car insurance to pay another person for damage without speaking to you first.

Catching fraud.  And why wouldn’t you want that previous scenario to happen?  You would be concerned about fraud, and you would be correct.  Try not to take this reason personally.  Fraud has an unfortunate presence in many auto claims, and it winds up costing us all more money in the end.  When claims get adjusted, some of that fraud is caught and parties are held accountable.  Seems a fair trade for a little extra time adjusters spend making sure car insurance claims pass the sniff test.

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