Here are six ways to get a fair automobile diminished value settlement. Insurance companies have a track record of refusing fair claims service to people with legitimate diminished value losses. If you’ve been denied fair treatment by an insurance company, you may not realize that you have options. Sometimes automobile diminished value claims require work. If you have been unfairly denied or low balled, you owe it to yourself and other customers to stand up and let insurance companies know that this is not how business should be done.
1. Stay calm.
Keeping a cool and calm attitude is the most important thing you can do when filing an automobile diminished value claim. Be calm, professional, and insistent. Don’t apologize about your claim or be afraid to insist on a fair settlement. Profanity and rudeness will not earn respect or validate your claim. Refuse to stoop to nasty behavior, even if it is being thrown your way, control yourself and the situation. It makes you look good no matter how rude an insurance company claim representative may be.
2. Document your claim.
Make sure that you have proof of the diminished value and all details to prove your case for a magistrate or mediator if necessary. Obtain an automobile diminished value appraisal from a licensed independent appraiser. Be sure to hire an appraiser that bases their diminished value appraisals on dealer quotes of which they should obtain at least six. Steer clear of appraisers that take short cuts such as using formulas or algorithms as well as those who rely on auction results. Save all emails.
Insurance companies try every tactic under the sun to deny automobile diminished value claims. If an insurer insists that the independent appraiser must physically inspect your repaired vehicle, inform them that repairs were done to your satisfaction. You are filing a claim for inherent diminished value which simply means that your vehicle has lost value by virtue of the fact that it now has a bad Carfax or other vehicle history report. Only in claims of repair-related diminished value, in which you have issues with the quality of repairs, does the appraiser need to physically inspect the vehicle. Also, if an insurer insists that you must hire an attorney to file the diminished value claim, unless they are willing to pay your legal fees, inform them that you have an absolute right to file the claim yourself.
3. Escalate your claim.
Claim representatives are trained to keep problems from going to managers or supervisors. Keep asking. If you are stonewalled, politely ask the insurance adjuster to transfer you to a manager or someone else who can take care of your problem. Inform them that you can hold if they tell you a supervisor is not available. You may need to spend a good deal of time on the phone with the claims rep before you can convince him or her that you are serious about getting the problem fixed.
If your calls to the insurance company are ignored you may be able to reach a helpful representative at the insurance department in your state. Insurance companies dread having unfair claim practices complaints filed against them. A representative from the insurance department can call the insurance company on your behalf.
Any calls to the insurance company’s home office may get directed to voice mail. Leave messages and return all phone calls keeping track of dates and times. Always include your claim number and a phone number at which you can be reached. Keep record of any phone calls that have not been returned by adjusters or supervisors about your problem.
4. Report them.
You’ve tried everything and the insurance company still refused to make it right. You still have more options. First, log a complaint with any rating companies of which the insurer is a member, such as The Better Business Bureau. There are also other online sites such as Ripoff Report in which you can report insurance company wrongdoing. You are doing yourself and the public a favor by reporting it. If every wronged customer had the courage to protest instead of sitting down and writing it off as a loss, there would be an improvement in how insurance companies treat claimants who file automobile diminished value claims. Provide specific details of your complaint, and note if you have not been contacted by claims supervisors to resolve your problem. Follow through on any communication. Be firm about a fair monetary settlement that fairly covers your loss.
File a complaint with Ripoff Report and Internet Blacklist. These are sites for consumer advocacy. Email a copy of your Ripoff Report to the insurance company and inform them that you are very willing to update your report with any positive response they give to your complaint.
5. Spread the word.
Let the public know what kind of customer service you received. Social networking plays a large role in defining a business. Post your comments on the insurers Facebook page. Re-post if necessary and ask them to respect your comment but do not use abusive language or over-post your review. Be creative with your reviews.
Use Twitter to spread the word. Get your complaint noticed by tweeting about your insurance company complaint. Ask your followers for advice. Someone who had the same problems with an insurance company may be able to give you some guidance.
Write reviews and rate the insurance company on sites that list ratings for businesses such as Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, Epinions, Topix, WebofTrust and RateItAll. Ratings matter. It may get attention to your problem. List your review of the insurance company on customer complaint sites such as ComplaintsBoard, PissedConsumer, My3Cents or Complaints.com. Find forums that address your issue and post reviews. Keep your comments relevant to any topics you post on and avoid profanity.
Start a blog. Let others know about your experiences and what you did to resolve the problem. You already did the work and the research. Others may have tips or advice for addressing the problem. If nothing else, you are turning a negative experience into something good. You never know what part you might play in a company’s decision to revise its poor customer service policies.
6. Take them to court.
Finally, when all else fails, you may wish to consider filing a claim in small claims or other civil court. It is uncommon but occasionally, despite your providing them with an appraisal showing the opinions of six auto dealers as to the amount of diminished value, an insurance adjuster will attempt to deny that is proof. As automobile diminished value becomes familiar to more magistrates and mediators, your chances of succeeding are greater. Courts have awarded claimant’s appraiser, expert witness and attorney fees be paid by the insurance companies in addition to the amount of diminished value. Hiring an attorney with experience in diminished value cases and going in armed with a comprehensive appraisal are important and can make the difference between winning and losing the case.
This is how to get a fair automobile diminished value settlement from an insurance company.
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