We’ve all heard stories about insurance companies going to great lengths to avoid paying the full amount they should on insurance claims. Often, this occurs when an insurance company refuses to honor a claim or fails to offer adequate coverage for extensive damage. While you might think this happens only in extraordinary cases, the unfortunate truth is that it is simply how many insurance companies operate.
If you have been involved in a collision in Santa Barbara County, there are three common ways insurance companies may try to shortchange you:
1) Underestimating the value of a totaled car. If an insurer declares that your car has been totaled as the result of an accident, it is important to second-guess the initial valuation of your vehicle. Often, insurers do not get their information about how much a car is worth from the same sources as the rest of us. Instead, they usually use claims servicing companies, which often undervalue vehicles to the insurance company’s benefit. To get a more accurate estimation of what your car is worth, look it up on a site like Edmunds.com or AutoTrader.com.
2) Totaling a car is an easy way out of paying for repairs. If your car has sustained relatively minor damage from an accident, you may be surprised when a claims adjuster declares the vehicle completely totaled. This is typically a cost-saving measure. Often, a minor collision will result in damage to just a few parts, but they can be very expensive parts that the insurer won’t want to replace. If you want to make sure your car has been totaled for the right reasons, consult with your own appraiser to determine if repairs can and should be made.
3) Auto shops frequently work for insurance companies. Because most insurers insist that their preferred auto shops handle repairs, it’s very important to speak with an impartial inspector to ensure that all repairs were done correctly. You can use this inspection to hold the insurance company accountable for any work that isn’t up to reasonable standards.