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Try the following steps if you are not satisfied with how your insurance claim is being handled:

  1. Let your agent or company representative know that you are unhappy.
    If this individual is unable to solve your problem, get the name and phone number of the head of the insurer's claims department. Your insurance company may also have a consumer complaint department that may be helpful.

  2. Be prepared to support your case.
    Send documents and a letter explaining why you are not satisfied and make sure you have the figures to back up your argument. Be certain to include your address, claim number, day and evening phone numbers, and any other important identifying information.

  3. Review your auto insurance policy.
    Most companies offer either arbitration or appraisal services to help settle differences and disputes. Your insurance policy will explain these options.

  4. Contact your state insurance department.
    Explain the reasons for the disagreement to a consumer services representative at the department.

  5. Call the National Insurance Consumer Helpline.
    If after hearing from your insurance company's claims executive you still feel your claim hasn't been handled properly, call 800-942-4242. It is a toll-free consumer information telephone service sponsored by the insurance industry. Trained personnel and licensed agents are available to assist consumers who have complaints. The Helpline operates Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. ET.

  6. Contact an arbitrator to hear your case.
    An independent arbitrator with experience in insurance matters can decide if the settlement you were offered is fair. Your insurance company may suggest an arbitrator or you can get your own from the American Arbitration Association at 212-484-4000 or at www.adr.org

  7. Consult an attorney.
    This should be your last resort. However, if you do feel the need for legal assistance, consult an attorney who specializes in auto insurance. Each state’s bar association offers a free legal referral service, which will give you names of qualified candidates. Attorneys work either on an hourly rate or on a contingency basis, depending on the type of case. Get the attorney's fee structure in writing. You can remain current on the progress of your claim by insisting that you receive copies from your attorney of all correspondence. Your attorney must have your agreement before committing to any settlement.

After your claim has been settled, take time to re-evaluate your auto insurance coverage to make sure you have adequate protection to cover you against any future damage or liability claims arising from your car.