Car insurance is always a hot topic. Much emotion is aroused by the growing amount of premiums, but recently the topic of lowered third party liability and AC insurance claims has been raised more and more often. It turns out that in many cases you can win additional money from insurers...
An accident or a bump is something that almost every driver has experienced. Even if nobody was hurt, it is always an unpleasant situation and a source of stress. On top of that there is another issue - compensation. It would seem that it is enough to have valid insurance, and nothing can happen to us. After all, the insurer will pay us the appropriate amount, we will repair the car and forget about all the unpleasantness. Right? Unfortunately, the reality does not look so rosy ...
Problem on a large scale
According to the estimates of the Motor Compensation Fund, about 92% of MTPL and AC claims are understated. This figure shows that the problem is very widespread. How is it possible? The matter is simple. First and foremost insurance companies want to earn money. They calculate very precisely the amount of premiums that the client has to pay for insuring the car. When they find arguments, they don't hesitate to increase them even for a moment. But when the moment comes when they have to fulfill their obligations and pay out the compensation due to us, their calculations go in the opposite direction. It is in the interest of the insurer to pay us as little as possible.
Money paid and it's over?
In fact, the first valuation is just the beginning. Insurance companies usually transfer the resulting so-called undisputed amount immediately to the account of the vehicle owner. This is intentional - a kind of psychological game. Most people are happy and relieved to discover that the compensation has already been credited to their account. Besides, we have the impression that since we received the money, the case is closed.
However, this is usually only a part of the amount that is due to the victim. It may be enough to repair in the economic variant, but to fully restore the car to the state from before the accident no longer. Insurers assume that a significant number of people will not question their decision or appeal against it.
Cost estimate with cheap substitutes
- Although most people do not know it, the initial valuation from the insurer is usually only the starting point for negotiations and does not fully reflect the real value of the damage - says Łukasz Lewicki, Member of the Management Board of the Motor Compensation Fund. - How is it that the first valuations are understated? It is simple. The insurer may e.g. lower the value of the car, base the repair estimate on the cheapest substitute parts, calculate a low rate for repair works or apply unauthorised depreciation deductions often disguised as discounts. The list of possible abuses is very wide. Of course, it happens that the proposed amount will fit with the repair, maybe even a little money will be left. But it will be a repair at cost, and not full compensation.
You can assert your rights - yourself...
More and more people are trying to fight for higher compensation. The regulations are an ally here - it is possible to claim an additional payment to an understated indemnity from MTPL and AC companies for up to 3 years after the collision. Of course, you can do it all by yourself. But you need to have some legal knowledge and, above all, a lot of time and self-denial. Lawsuits of this type usually last 18-21 months and involve substantial costs.
- People who fight for higher compensation on their own usually only have enough time and energy for a few months. Often their enthusiasm fades even faster - assesses Łukasz Lewicki.
- Insurers prolong the course of the case, quote complicated arguments, refer to paragraphs and articles aiming at creating an impression that they are right. It is overwhelming for the average insured to face the powerful, efficient machinery of loss adjustment departments and the maze of procedures. The last resort is to take the case to court, but going it alone against the insurer's lawyers is not a path for everyone.
...or with professionals
Insurers rely on the victims' ignorance. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness among Poles both of the very practice of understating claims, and of the fact that a lengthy battle with the insurer is not the only way to go because an attractive alternative is to place the matter in the hands of specialists.
There are many companies on the market offering various models of support. One of the most interesting ones seems to be subsidies for understated claims. What are the advantages of applying for such a payment? - First of all, it is fast and easy to obtain additional money, which can be used in any way.
- We realize surcharges from our own funds, so the payment is made even within 7 days, so many months before the claim from the insurer. In a sense, we pay in advance and take the whole problem on ourselves.
Such activity requires appropriate organisational facilities and economic potential, and the companies running it strive to make a profit, so the surcharges they offer their clients are not equal to the full amount they will subsequently claim from the insurer. However, taking into account the fact that they take over the whole burden and risk of claiming, while the injured party obtains certain and almost immediate payment, it is certainly an option worth considering.
Even a few thousand surcharge
How much additional payment can you get? It depends on the value of the entire loss and on how much the insurer underestimated the amount of compensation. The amount of additional payment is determined individually, on the basis of an analysis of a given case. In practice it is usually from several hundred to several thousand PLN.
Contrary to our assumptions, the process of applying for the surcharge does not take long at all. It is necessary to present documents related to the damage, such as the insurer's estimate and decision on payment (and in the case of AC indemnity, also a scan or a copy of the policy). It is worth knowing that even if we do not have the necessary documentation, the insurer is obliged to keep it and issue it upon our request. Then things move quickly. - Since we are by definition a counterbalance for insurance companies, we try to make everything as fast and simple as possible.
- Analysis of documents and preparation of a free expert opinion, allowing us to determine the amount of additional payment, are usually carried out within 24 hours. Contracts are sent by courier, who also picks up the signed documents and delivers them back to us. In this way you can have the surcharge on your account even within 7 days without leaving home.
It is worth fighting
Regardless of the decision - to fight alone or to seek support of professionals - we should not be satisfied with the compensation proposed at the beginning by the insurer.
In the vast majority of cases it is only a part of the money due to us. That's why by agreeing to a low-budget repair of our cars, we give insurance companies money at our expense. We advise you to fight for your own.
Has your compensation been understated? Find out more at zanizoneodszkodowania.pl