In the event of an automobile claim, your insurer can appoint an independent expert to determine the amount of compensation. But sometimes some policyholders disagree with the expert’s conclusions. In this case, there are remedies. Find out which ones and all the means to challenge an automotive expertise.
What should be done in the event of an automobile accident?
First, in the event of an accident, you must notify your insurer. For this, you have a legal period of five days to file a claim.
Then, be aware that you must contact a professional garage who will take care of the repairs on the vehicle. Your insurer will offer you a list of approved garages, but you can choose the professional yourself. However, it is better to use the list of the insurance company because it will save you from having to advance costs, except in the event of a deductible.
What is the role of an automotive expert?
Depending on the seriousness of the claim, the insurer will decide whether or not to call on an expert. This is an independent professional mandated by the insurance company.
Its main missions are of several orders:
- determine the extent of the damage to the vehicle by listing all the damage;
- quantify the damage suffered precisely;
- ensure that the damage was not caused before the accident. The purpose of this check is to prevent insurance fraud.
As the insured, you must collaborate with the car expert by giving him the essential documents such as the report and the registration certificate (ex-carte grise) of the car. The professional will also base his assessment on your declarations. Finally, know that you have every right to attend the expertise of your vehicle. This is even recommended in order to limit the risk of dispute.
What you need to know about compensation and its amount
Before contesting an automobile expertise, a number of elements must be taken into account:
- the expert will determine the amount of work required to restore the vehicle only if repairs are possible;
- indeed, if repairing the car costs more than compensating, the insurer will reimburse the insured directly. The expert will then be responsible for determining the amount of compensation;
- the amount of compensation depends on several elements such as the condition of the car before the accident and the local market;
- on the other hand, if you are not responsible for the accident, the insurer will reimburse you the replacement value of the vehicle so that you can buy a similar item;
- on the other hand, if your responsibility is engaged in the accident, the insurance will pay you the sum provided for in the contract. This takes into account the guarantee ceiling and any deductible. To be compensated, you must also be insured against all risks;
- finally, in the case of a new car, it is generally impossible to obtain the purchase value unless the contract provides for it (vehicles less than 3,6 or 12 months old).
To know : when you want to sell your car, it will be depreciated. In the event of major repairs, the insurance companies provide for this purpose a special indemnity for depreciation.
The deadlines for an automotive expertise
How long does an automotive expertise last? There are different deadlines to consider.
Deadline for reporting the claim
First, the insured must respect the legal deadline to be able to benefit from the insurance and therefore from compensation. The claim declaration (article L. 113-2 of the Insurance Code) can be made by post (registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt), by telephone or directly with the insurer.
Depending on the damage, the legal period varies:
- you have 5 days to report a road accident or broken glass;
- 2 days for a flight;
- and 10 days for damage caused by a natural disaster (fire, flood, etc.). This period starts from the date of the ministerial decree recognizing the incident as such.
Duration of vehicle expertise
The duration of automobile expertise is not regulated. There is therefore no legal deadline. It just depends on the insurance company and a number of factors such as:
- the magnitude of the accident;
- the search for the origin or the person responsible;
- the conservation measures instituted by the insurance;
- the use of companies…
Generally, the average delay observed is between 8 and 10 days. Note that the greater the damage, the longer the duration of expertise is likely to be. Sometimes you have to be patient before being compensated by the insurance company.
How to challenge an automotive expertise?
Can we dispute the opinion of the automotive expert?
First, know that you have the right to challenge an automobile expertise if it does not suit you. In the event of disagreement with the conclusions of the expert mandated by the insurer, you can request a second opinion.
How do I request a second opinion?
To have a counter-expertise, you must call on an independent automotive expert. Since this process comes from your initiative, the costs are your responsibility. These are free fees whose amount depends on the time spent. Therefore, the sum can vary from simple to double depending on the expertise. It is advisable to request an estimate from the expert before commissioning him.
The process of a counter-expertise
Once you have appointed an independent expert, he will in turn study your car in the same way as the first professional.
If these conclusions are identical to those of the first expert, the insurer reimburses the vehicle.
On the other hand, if the report of the second expert differs from that of the first, an agreement on compensation must be reached between the two professionals.
In the event that no amicable solution has been found by the two experts, the insurance will involve a third independent professional. The costs would then fall as much on the insurer as on the insured.
Finally, if the situation remains hopeless and the dispute persists, there is only one alternative left. This consists of seizing the competent court in the matter.
Read also: Auto malus: how to successfully insure yourself correctly?