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Auto Insurance Claims/How best to dispute an offer from insurance

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Question
My friend's 2000 F450 Ford truck was heavily damaged by hail recently.  This being a large truck, the flatbed will need to be removed for optimal repairs.  His insurance company has offered about $6200 for the repairs, but the truck and body place he took the truck to gave him an estimate that was almost double at $12,200 which includes removing the flatbed, storing it and replacement.  Anyway, he's asked me what to do so I'm passing on his question which is: what is the best way to dispute the insurance company offer?  Would it be prudent to get some other estimates recognizing that most body shops won't handle this large a truck?  Any other suggestions?  Thanks.

Answer
I'm going on the assumption he has not yet raised this issue to the insurer.  If he had, they probably would have explained the "supplement" process.  

When an insurer writes an initial estimate, it is just that, an estimate.  It is not a final offer.  The appraisers are generally told to only write for damage they can see and confirm.  It is understood there may be more damage and/or repairs necessary.  The repair shop is expected to work off the estimate but if they find additional work is necessary, they are to call the insurance claim rep and and ask for a supplement.  This happens every day.

Sometimes the repair shop will ask for a supplement that the insurer does not approve because they disagree about the best way to repair the vehicle.  If this happens, you have a few options:

1. take the vehicle to a shop the insurer recommends who will follow their estimate
2. complain to the claim supervisor
3. complete the repairs the way you prefer at your preferred shop, pay the difference, and then try to get your money back by either filing a complaint with the state insurance department, or by suing the insurer in small claims court.  

Good luck!

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Claims Guy

Expertise

I am currently an Auto Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I have 20 years experience in the industry, having worked as a Claims Adjuster, Injury Settlement Negotiator, Claims Manager, SIU/Fraud Investigator, and Compliance Officer......I can answer questions related to any aspect of Automobile insurance claims and coverages. I can provide an inside look at how insurers operate. I always treat my customers fairly and want to help make sure you are treated fairly. However, please keep in mind that being treated fairly according to the law does not guarantee that you will get what you want. I can also answer some questions regarding Homeowner's and other types of insurance claims. I have handled all types of auto insurance claims and coverages. I am NOT an automotive repair expert but can give advice re how insurers handle complex repair issues. Please keep in mind that every state has its own set of laws pertaining to rules of the road, liability, and insurance. No one is an expert on every state. I am most familiar with laws in Maryland, DC, West Virginia, and Virginia, but will attempt to answer questions for other states. I am not an attorney an cannot provide legal advice. My advice will be my opinion based on my experience.

Experience

I am currently an Auto Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I have 20 years experience in the industry, having worked as a Claims Adjuster, Injury Settlement Negotiator, Claims Manager, SIU/Fraud Investigator, and Compliance Officer. I am not an attorney an cannot provide legal advice. My advice will be my opinion based on my experience.

Organizations
CPCU Society. Adjusters license in multiple states. International Association of Specal Investigators

Education/Credentials
I have a B.S. in Finance and have completed the AIC and CPCU designations.

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