Mediate Your Car Insurance Claim Dispute

No one expects to be involved in an automobile accident or find themselves the victim of vandalism or theft, but unfortunately, with the ever growing population, these situations are commonplace. The usual procedure if one of these instances should occur, is of course to call the police and file a police report, and then to inform your insurance company. An adjuster will be dispatched to assess the claim and determine the amount of damage. The adjuster will then either approve the go ahead to get repairs completed or if your vehicle is deemed a total loss, you will be paid a cash amount. Usually this payment is determined by the actual cash value of your vehicle at the time the loss occurred. The agreed deductible is subtracted from this amount to give you your final payment.

Sometimes, a consumer may not agree with the decision that the adjuster has come to. They may believe that their vehicle is worth more than determined. If the cost to repair the vehicle is greater than the actual cash value, then the adjuster will not approve repairs. Some car owners cannot accept the fact that their vehicle is not worth repairing. They may dispute the verdict. If this is the case, their first course of action is to discuss concerns with their agent. If this doesn’t solve their problems, then they may escalate the matter to a superior agent or customer service department. It is a client’s best interest to always inform the insurance company of any concerns, actions, or intentions in writing. This will provide a paper trail and record should such proof be required at a later date.

In rare cases the customer just cannot be appeased. If the situation intensifies to such a point, it may be time for more drastic action. There are two ways to attempt a resolution. This can be done through either mediation or arbitration.

Mediation is perhaps the more logical path to choose. This is mainly because it is a lot less expensive then going to court, and it is usually more civil and informal. Both parties must agree to take part in the mediation. An unbiased third party will act as a mediator. He or she will act on behalf of both parties and help all of those involved to come to an agreeable and satisfactory decision.

The insurance company and the insured will both present their information and arguments and then the mediator will review all facts. The most important thing to remember about mediation is that the mediator is there to make suggestions only. Neither party is obligated to accept any of these suggestions; however it is in their best interest to do so. The mediator does not represent either party and their decision will be based on what they deem to be the best solution for all involved.

After mediation has been concluded and all suggestions put forward, there is still a possibility that one or both of the parties involved will still not settle on an agreement. If this is the case, then there is one more step to contemplate. The matter can then be brought to arbitration. Arbitration is really a last resort. It is much like going to court and can be quite costly to all involved.

Both the insured and the insurance company should have their lawyer present through all proceedings and must inform each other of all happenings and intentions. Before proceeding this far, the client should first make sure that they are familiar with their insurance policy. This contract should be reviewed thoroughly just in case some point has been overlooked. It is possible that the whole matter of arbitration can be avoided, thus saving time and money.

As in a formal court hearing, the insured will state their case, providing any evidence and proof of their claim, as well as calling any revalent witnesses. The insurance company in turn will do the same. After all evidence is presented and reviewed, a decision will be made. The most important difference between arbitration and mediation is that any decision that is made in arbitration is final. There are no suggestions or proposals. If the decision is in favour of the insured, they may be entitled to a payment; however, this amount cannot be greater than stated on the insurance policy.

Arbitration is not always the best answer to resolve a dispute. Mediation is a much easier way for both parties to come to an agreement that benefits both and still maintain a good working relationship.

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