How to Deal With an Insurance Adjuster

When your property is damaged in an accident or casualty loss, there are many things going through your mind. Your first thoughts may include "Can or should I use the property with these damages?" or "This is the last thing I need right now!" But most of all you want to know who is going to pay for the damages and when. Whether the accident was your fault or not, you are probably going to have to come in contact with an insurance adjuster to be reimbursed for the damages.

Leave your property exactly as it was when the accident or casualty occurred. Don't attempt to make repairs on your own because this could reduce the amount that the insurance adjuster decides is necessary to bring your property back to 100 percent. You could make a homemade repair that ends up causing problems for your property in the future that you'll never be reimbursed for, so leave everything to the professionals.

Call to speak with the insurance adjuster to set up an appointment. If the adjuster doesn't get back to you in a timely fashion after repeated attempts on your end, call and ask to speak with a manager.

Make it easy for the adjuster to find your property and inspect everything safely, if the adjuster is coming to your home or business to evaluate a claim. If you are going to an insurance adjuster's location with a car claim, bring a friend with you as a witness (in fact, you always want to have a buddy present when your car is being evaluated by an adjuster, even if it is at your home). Arrive at your appointment with the adjuster 10 minutes early so that you can get comfortable with the shop, look over your car once more, and see other customers who are dealing with the adjusters. This way you will have an idea of what to expect from the process.

Be cordial and shake the adjuster's hand when he arrives. Then get right to the point; explain what happened in the accident and what was damaged. Be firm and even in your tone; don't become animated, angry or unreasonable. Point out all of the specifics of the damage. If this is a car claim, open the hood and trunk if necessary to get a better look at the problems. Note any concerns you have that could be a problem in the future; for instance, if your vehicle has front end damage let the adjuster know that you want to be sure the radiator is okay. For a home claim, if you are concerned about the floorboards or foundation after a fire or other casualty loss, then make that clear to the adjuster so that he can look into the situation more closely.

Be quiet and allow the adjuster to make her determinations once you've made your case. The adjuster will need a few minutes to list everything and run numbers through her system or estimate book.

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