The insurance supplement process is a standard process but it can be very confusing. If you hear the term “insurance supplement” from your body shop or repair company, it means the car repair needs more money than previously approved by your insurance company.
You may be wondering why that’s the case and how it works with insurance supplements. Read on to learn the details.
Or jump to specific sections that you have questions about:
What is a supplement in auto insurance?
Auto Insurance Supplements–What are they? In short, sometimes an insurance adjuster can miss some damage or leaves some necessary items off of his or her original estimate. When this happens, body shops write supplements to complete or finish the job on the vehicle.
So, let’s say your car gets hailed on. The first thing you would do is contact your insurance claims office. Typically they would ask you to run through their catastrophe tent where they would take a look at the damage and write an estimate.
After they have completed their estimate and given you a check for let’s say, $2,000, you bring the car to StormWise, and we say
“Well, it’s actually going to cost $3,000 to fix all the damage on your car.”
Please do not panic or stress when this happens, and do not waste your time going around the city looking for a $2,000 rate.
What we do is write up a list of items the adjuster did not capture in the first estimate, and send it to your adjuster. Usually the insurance companies recognize that they are not going to catch all the damage on the initial estimate, and they make it really easy for us to request a supplement in order to cover that last $1,000 in damage that they didn’t originally catch.
That difference is NOT going to be something you will have to come out of pocket for under any circumstances.
How does the auto insurance supplement process work?
If your body shop needs to file a supplement to your insurance company to cover additional damage repair, here are the steps you can expect:
- Repair shop submits the supplement and stops the car repair: The repair shop submits the supplement to your insurance, documenting any additional parts or repairs needed.
- Insurance reviews the supplement request: Depending on the workload, the insurance can take as few as a couple of days or as many as more than one week to review the supplement request.
- Insurance reinspect the car: Depending on the supplement amount, the insurance may send an adjuster to reinspect the car for the damage mentioned in the supplement. As a trusted repair shop, StormWise uses the exact same pricing matrix every insurance company uses to simplify this recheck process for fast approval.
- Insurance approves the supplement: When the supplement is approved, your body shop can continue the repair work. And if the car needs part replacement, the body shop will order the parts after the supplement approval too.
Should I get another estimate if my insurance’s payout is lower than the body shop estimate?
That would be a bad idea, and here is why…
First, your insurance company is going to require that we work off of THEIR initial estimate (the one taken on their catastrophe tent, your home, or work place). Therefore it is not necessary, as it once was, to go around getting estimates from companies to provide to your insurance; your insurance company won’t even look at them.
Secondly, the adjuster will look at the damage and write up for the damage they see. As mentioned above, it is difficult to see hail dents under direct sunlight or inside a room/garage. So even if you have the car inspected by the adjuster multiple times, it may not increase the insurance estimate.
The good news is, we use the exact same pricing matrix that every single insurance company uses, and therefore it is very easy to see what the adjuster missed once we type up our estimate between ours and the insurance’s.
This shows your adjuster what they missed in a clear and concise, easily understandable form.
How do I get an insurance supplement?
So here’s what happens: you bring your insurance company’s estimate to StormWise and our estimate comes up higher than your insurance company’s.
- This happens 99.9% of the time because hail damage is very difficult to see in bright sunlight or even a catastrophe tent, and adjusters do not have on-hand the special paintless dent repair lights and other tools we use when writing our estimate.
Therefore if our estimate is higher than theirs, it means that the insurance adjuster missed some damage.
Not a big deal, we will send this discrepancy up to the insurance company’s supplement approval department in order to be paid to fix ALL the damage on the car, not just what they saw on the first initial look.
We assume that our customers want ALL the hail damage fixed, and not just the few dents the adjuster initially saw.
What happens once we send a supplement request?
It depends on the insurance company.
If the discrepancy is over a certain dollar amount, the insurance company will send one of their adjusters back out to re-calculate the damage or ask for a video call, pictures, or receipts of parts we replaced that were not on the initial insurance estimate.
We circle the dents to prove dent count, they’ll put sizers on the dents in order to determine the size and have all the necessary invoices and estimates ready when the adjuster calls us and/or comes out.
We do this all day every day, so we are pretty good at getting the money insurance owes on all hail damage repairs from your vehicle, so don’t worry about the whole “negotiation” factor.
No matter what, YOU’RE NOT going to have to pay any of the difference out of your own pocket that may arise. Guaranteed.
What if the supplement isn’t 100% approved?
Even if we send up a supplement that isn’t ultimately 100% approved (which usually doesn’t happen, but has happened a few times with lower level insurance providers such as The General or Bristol West), you STILL will NEVER be responsible for any overages.
That’s 100% guaranteed.
As I mentioned before, 99.9% of the claims we deal with do require some type of supplement. Sometimes it’s a difference in part prices, sometimes it’s just missed damage, and sometimes the insurance just doesn’t want to pay for ALL the damage on the vehicle in hopes you’ll just take the money and run.
Writing the estimate below what it’s actually going to cost to fix is a method for insurance companies to make sure you actually fix the car with that money instead of keeping the money and using it for something else.
Any way you look at it, just know that supplements are a daily thing in insurance claims and are especially common among hail damage claims.
You can feel confident that when you bring your car in for hail damage repair at StormWise, we will make the process go as smoothly as possible for you and will NEVER charge you anything out of pocket* to fix the hail damage.
That’s your insurance company’s responsibility, and we ensure they cover all the damage so you don’t have to worry about it.