Are you in good hands? Car insurance company Allstate would like for you to think so. Its memorable slogan and advertisements are meant to leave you with the impression that Allstate is there for its policyholders and all of their needs. However, the reality of a driver’s experience with the insurance giant can be significantly different.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Allstate has approximately 16 million customers who together have about 176 million policies with the company. While everyone’s experience is different, reports suggest that Allstate engages in one or more practices that work to the disadvantage of its policyholders.
Allstate Reportedly Lowballs Policyholders’ Claims
One of the most notorious practices of which Allstate has been accused is sometimes referred to as lowballing. This refers to a practice whereby Allstate’s insurance adjuster will attempt to get the policyholder to agree to an amount for their claim that’s lower than what the claim is actually worth.
The American Association for Justice and other organizations have looked into Allstate’s lowballing practices.
Lowballing can save Allstate money and contribute to greater profits. Any money that the insurance company is not spending on paying claims or other expenses is considered part of its profits.
Suppose that you have a policy with Allstate, and you get into a motor vehicle collision. You file a claim because, according to your mechanic, your car has sustained $3,000 in damage. Your insurance adjuster, though, attempts to claim that your vehicle only has $2,000 worth of damage, and that amount should be the extent of what you get paid.
To be certain, Allstate is not the only insurance company attempting to submit lowball claims for payment. The pervasiveness of the practice, though, means that Allstate customers should be wary of accepting an offer to resolve a claim that seems unreasonably low.
Options Available When Your Claim Gets Lowballed
It may seem that you have little recourse if your Allstate adjuster isn’t willing to pay the full amount of your claim. Remember, you do have rights. Your insurance policy with Allstate is a legally enforceable contract, which means that the insurance company can be sued for breach of contract if it’s not living up to its end of the bargain. In some instances, you might be able to file a bad faith claim as well.
If you receive an estimate of damage or repair costs from a trustworthy source but your claims adjuster comes back with a different, lower number, be suspicious. You should also be suspicious if the adjuster makes their offer quickly after your accident. The likelihood of being lowballed increases if the adjuster pressures you to accept their low offer.
You can protect yourself against this practice, regardless of your insurance carrier. First, you should accumulate reliable evidence of your claim’s worth. This includes getting estimates from reputable repair facilities that are familiar with insurance claims. Share this information with your adjuster.
Remain firm in demanding the amount your claim is worth. Do not accept the first offer made by the insurance company if it’s too low, as the adjuster will likely amend the offer and raise the amount they are willing to pay on the claim. It’s not uncommon for the adjuster to have several back-and-forths with you before reaching an agreement.
An Attorney Can Protect Your Rights and Interests
If you are not comfortable dealing with the adjuster, or if you can’t get the adjuster to pay the amount you deserve for your claim, consider enlisting the help of an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, bring a lawsuit against the insurance company. A skilled personal injury attorney won’t let the insurance company take advantage of you.
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