How to File an Auto Insurance Complaint
Because insurance agents and companies are required to abide by certain laws and guidelines, and consumers and policyholders are also held by rules and contractual obligations, it is rare that you will reach the point at which you must file an insurance complaint with a government agency. Rather, the best line of defense is to discuss the matter first with your adjuster, agent, or customer service representative if you feel you have been wronged in the handling of a claim.
Part of obtaining the qualified attention that you may require when sorting out your issue is in contacting the correct person. If in doubt, consult your agent first. He or she can refer you to the right department or person. If your issue cannot be resolved through discussion with the person responsible for handling your claim or policy, speak with a manager or supervisor. It is in the best interest of the insurance office to process within its own walls. In this instance, a manager should be more than willing to assist you, as the reputation of the company or agency branch is now at stake. However, there are times when problems cannot be resolved in-house, and you have the right to closure and fair treatment. After exhausting all other means, contact the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Insurance Division. In many states, this is a government agency set up specifically to regulate the insurance industry. Responsible for licensing insurance companies and agents, it oversees activities and enforces laws and rules that pertain to insurance transactions.
This department handles:
- Financial soundness of insurers
- Availability and affordability of insurance
- Fair treatment of policyholders and claimants.
Contacting this office should be the final step in ensuring that your insurance issue is properly resolved. As with many auto-related issues, the insurance company is not the only specialist worth consulting in the event of damage to your vehicle. Often, obtaining fair treatment involves consulting a qualified third party appraiser that can assess the damage on your vehicle and determine whether you are entitled to more compensation for the sale or disposal of your car than what the insurance company allotted. By contacting a third party, you increase your likelihood of fair treatment by your insurance agency and decrease the likelihood of needing to pursue great lengths to obtain fair treatment, as per above.
Working with an insurance company after an auto accident need not be stressful. By knowing who to contact with issues and making an appointment with a third party appraiser to make sure you get what your car is really worth in the case of damages, you provide yourself with a fair and more satisfying experience.