How Do Car Insurance Companies Determine Payouts?

If you are in a car accident, the insurance company uses a variety of factors to determine how much will be paid out on your claim. Rather than relying on a precise formula, the industry standard involves taking into account the nature of property damage, personal injury, and policy limits of those involved. Read on to learn more about how car accident settlements are calculated by your insurance company.

In most cases, your settlement check will cover to cost to repair the damage to your car or replace damaged items (the bumper, for example). If your car is “totaled,” which means the cost to repair the car exceeds the car’s value, the settlement will usually equal the estimated value of the vehicle. Unfortunately, that often means that your settlement check will not be enough to purchase a new comparable vehicle.

If the accident involved personal injury, this settlement is determined separately from your property damage settlement. The injury settlement is determined by the total cost of your medical bills, documented wage loss, and medical reports that indicate the extent of your pain and suffering as a result of the accident. This amount is meant to compensate for current and future pain caused by the accident, so you’ll need to complete medical treatment to the point where achievable improvement has been reached before filing a personal injury claim. If ongoing treatment is needed, this settlement will include an estimate of the cost of your future medical needs. If you have a personal injury claim, the best course of action is to consult a personal injury lawyer.

When an individual signs an auto insurance policy, he or she agrees to a limit as to how much money will be paid for a given claim. For example, if you are in an accident and your policy cap is $25,000, your settlement will not exceed this amount regardless of damages and personal injury. If the auto accident was caused by a person who was not insured, or if the cap is substantially lower than your expected settlement, than you can sue the other driver for the difference. 

Regardless of the settlement claim offered by an insurance company, you can always file a lawsuit against another driver for negligence if they are at fault for the accident. It’s important to consult a personal injury attorney if you’ve been in an accident and feel that you have been treated unfairly by your insurance company.