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How Much is Your Auto Insurance Claim Worth?

The Texas Department of Insurance explains the responsibility of insurance providers to the insured to big ol’ capital T:

“Indemnity is the basis insurance coverage. The objective is that the insured should neither reap economic gain nor incur a loss if adequately insured. The objective requires that the insured receive a payment equal to that of the covered loss so that the insured is restored to the same position after the loss as before the loss.”

Keeping this in mind we can understand how to ensure that our auto insurance claim is fair and restorative. By holding a realistic understanding of the insurance company’s function in our lives after an accident we can claim an amount that cannot be argued by an adjuster and ensure you get every dollar you need to be restored to your life before the accident. Calculating the worth of an auto insurance claim is also finding the road to your recovery.

Calculating Your Auto Insurance Claim 

Three factors calculate the worth of an auto insurance claim:

  • Auto Vehicle Damages
  • Bodily Injury Expenses
  • Lost Wages

Auto Vehicle Damages

After an accident, try to remain as calm as possible and be aware of all that is happening around you. You need to act as a claims adjuster yourself. If you can, follow this checklist after an accident:

    • Mentally note or write down who was involved in the accident and how it happened
    • Take your own pictures of your car
    • If you call the police, take the officer’s name and badge I.D. number
    • contact your insurance provider

You will be assigned a claims adjuster after your accident. Now is where you need to do your own research and price checking to ensure that you are getting a fair settlement. As far as auto damages, there are two routes the adjustment process will go:

Total Loss

  • The insurance company will be responsible for reimbursing you the Actual Cash Value of the car.
  • There is no single method for calculating the ACV so you need to find your own quotes to ensure that the amount your adjuster is quoting you is fair.
  • Most companies use Kelly Blue Book, Black Book, or Nation Auto Dealer Association for their resources on calculating the value of your car. Research using these sources to find out the value to replace your car.
  • If the car is less than a year old, insurance companies will try to find out how much it costs to replace the same or similar model of the car. Again, do your own research to present to claims adjuster.
Vehicle Needs Repairs

  • You might be asked to bring the car to an insurance approved mechanic to check for damages. It’s important to keep all the bills you receive and get quotes or reports in writing.
  • Take your vehicle to a mechanic you trust and make sure the report the same amount of repairs needed so the you are sure that everything will get fixed that was caused by the accident.
  • Be thorough and organized in keeping this information together so you can present it to the adjuster or your lawyer easily.



Bodily Injury

If you had bodily injury as a result of the accident this is part of the damages claim and will most likely involve the same adjuster. The company will ask for a report from your doctor including all the injuries related to the accident. To ensure that the worth of your claim is fair, remember to:

      • Look at your policy’s bodily injury section and see how much they cover and what types of injuries they cover.
      • Go to your physician and let them know about your policy so they know what to include and how to include it in the report you will give the insurance adjuster.
      • Keep copies of all your medical bills to show to the adjuster

Lost Wages

If you have lost time at work because of your injury then you will have to file a different type of claim, instead of damage compensation you will have to file for salary compensation. To do this you must have proof that you missed work:

      • Obtain a letter from your boss or manager explaining that you missed work due to your injuries and how much you get paid or how much you lost
      • If you work for yourself or are an independent contractor, you might have to provide tax returns detailing your income so adjusters can determine how much money you lost

The Adjustment Process

Determining the total amount your claim is worth is essentially putting together the amounts for these three areas of claims. If you can explain the details of each of these three areas, which might take time to figure out, you can explain these to your adjuster and hopefully be indemnified for everything you report.
However the adjusters is always looking to give you the smallest claim possible. It’s their job to ensure they are not just giving money away, so do not get frustrated with them personally. In many cases, an attorney can provide the adjuster the information he or she needs to reimburse you fully.