How to Appeal an Auto Insurance Settlement Offer

By Contributing Writer

  • Overview

    Nobody likes auto insurance companies these days. However, if you are involved in a car accident, you are going to have to deal with them, especially if the accident was not your fault. When you are trying to come up with a settlement with the auto insurance company, it is very important to be aware of how to appeal that offer made by the insurance company.
    • Step 1

      Decide on the strategy you should take in getting an acceptable settlement offer. Make sure to determine what is an acceptable settlement offer in your mind. Then inquire with the insurance company for the appeals process. Be sure to request a manual (either in hard copy and electronic copy) so that you can read through the process. Most insurance companies require you to formally appeal. You will need to write a letter stating that you intend to appeal. Make a copy of all correspondence with the insurance company. The insurance company should then send you an application for a claims appeal.
    • Step 2

      Gather all related documents to the accident and insurance claim. That is, you need to have a police report of the accident so request a copy if you don't get one on the scene. Compile all medical bills and receipts for every doctor you went to see and all tests run because of the injuries sustained in the accident. This includes bills for psychologists or psychiatrists if that was necessary. Make a copy of all the documents in this file you have compiled. Fill out your application of a claim appeal and attach all of these relevant documents. Make a copy of the application you filled out.

    • Step 3

      Mail your entire application and related documents to the insurance company appeals department. Confirm that the department they did receive your application and related documents. The appeals process will vary from company to company, but usually each claim will have a claim manager assigned to it. Once you have exercised your right to appeal the claim determination, your entire claim will go either to an individual or a committee which reviews appeals. Typically, these review boards will have 30 to 90 days to review your claim determination and inform you in writing of their decision.
    • Step 4

      Write down notes documenting every phone call or conversation you had with an insurance company representative or employee. You will need to appraise your attorney of all these conversations. Don't write shorthand either---fully write out exactly what was said and the tone used. Also include factual information such as date, time and who you spoke with from the insurance company. Be as specific as possible when taking these notes. If you receive any emails from insurance company employees, be sure to save those and print copies for your attorney to see. This should be done for any faxed or mailed documents as well. Therefore, do not ever throw anything away that is related to the claim.
    • Step 5

      Keep checking in with the insurance company appeals department every couple of weeks. The insurance company might drag the entire process out or misplace your claim, and you want them to remember you and expedite the process as much as possible.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Tip: Locate and hire a lawyer. It's very important to have an advocate when dealing with a big insurance company.

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