How to Approach Your Insurance Company After Being in a Car Accident
After being involved in a car accident, it is quintessential to follow a bunch of steps. This way, you can be certain that your legal rights are protected. It is highly recommended to communicate with your insurance carrier directly after an accident. This is fundamental in order to receive the compensation for which you’re eligible.
If you were involved in a car accident that wasn’t caused by you, then you’ll need to file a property damage or personal injury claim. The insurance company could offer you a settlement – but the initial offer, in many situations, is lower than what you are actually entitled to get.
Having said that, do consider our tips if you want to ensure that you’re getting a fair claim.
Submitting a Claim
Before you submit your claim to the insurance company, you should have everything you need on hand. This entails photos or other evidence pointing out that you were involved in an accident, which should outline its severity. In addition, you should exemplify the property damage and expenses needed for the repairs.
Moreover, all the medical-related expenses should be mentioned. Aside from that, other additional notes regarding your pain or possible limitations that resulted due to the accident should be pointed, as well as medical consultations. Furthermore, make sure you include a copy of the police report.
Before you actually begin to write the demand letter, you should take the time to review your notes. It’s critical to include as many details as possible. Evidently, you should describe the way in which the accident happened. If the insured person was at fault, you should describe with useful details of the accident. Make sure you mention any support you may have – such as eyewitnesses’ statements or police reports.
When it comes to car accidents, there is always the question of whether your carelessness was a contributing factor to the accident. This applies even if the other person has the main fault. This is why you should raise this issue by denying that you are to blame. In essence, it is not your responsibility to decide what makes a fair statement. That is to say, you shouldn’t make comparative negligence arguments with the insurer.
In the situation in which the insurance company does bring up the topic during negotiations, that would be the time to debate the question.
The Negotiation Process
Moving on to the negotiation process, there are some things worth mentioning. During the first call with the representative of the company, he/she will outline both the weaknesses and strengths of your claim. Afterward, a settlement offer will be made – as a rule of thumb, the first offer is lower than what you’re entitled to get. This is a tactic engaged by most insurance companies.
This is why you should negotiate. After a couple of phone calls, you should agree for a settlement sum that is somewhere in between.
You might also get a reservation of rights letter. If you do get this, you shouldn’t feel intimated or alarmed. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the company has started to investigate your claim. In addition, through this letter, it reserves its rights not to pay anything in the event that the accident isn’t covered by the policy.
In essence, the letter safeguards the company, as it prevents you from claiming that the insurance company should cover the accident simply because the negotiation process has started.
You Should Have a Settlement Amount in Mind
As mentioned beforehand, when you comprise your demand letter, you should have a sum of money in mind – what you believe the claim is actually worth. So, make sure that, before you start negotiating with an insurance adjuster, you decide the minimum amount of money that you are likely to accept. However, you shouldn’t reveal this to the adjuster – not at first, at the very least.
On the flipside, though, you shouldn’t stubbornly cling to that figure either. If the adjuster outlines some facts that you overlooked, which weaken your claim, then, this could mean that you should diminish the figure you expect to get.
Avoid Jumping At the First Offer
When you get the first offer, it may be much lower than what you actually had in mind. This is actually a commonly used tactic, as the insurance adjuster wants to analyze your reaction. In this situation, you could make a counteroffer that is a tad lower than what you initially asked for in the demand letter.
This will indicate that you are willing to make comprises and you are open to negotiations. Bargaining will allow you to obtain the amount of money you think is fair for your given circumstances.
If, however, the offer is inexplicably low, you should request the adjuster to justify that. Bear this in mind: make notes of everything. If you get an unreasonably low settlement lower, you might need to do some extra work. Everything depends on the strength of the adjuster’s motives. Nonetheless, before you actually accept this offer, make sure that you analyze those motives.
Outline the Emotional Points Linked to the Accident
During the negotiation process, make sure you put the emphasis on the points that are in your favor. For instance, you should outline that the insured party caused the accident, that this led to a painful injury, to a lot of medical costs, and that you might deal with permanent emotional and physical effects.
In addition, if, for example, your injury deters you from looking after your children – make sure you mention this as a result of the accident. Plus, if the accident prevented you from working, outline that this affected your financial gains and stability.
To conclude, negotiating an insurance claim is made easier when you have the right information. Make sure you know what to expect of this process so that you can actually obtain what you are entitled to. We hope that our tips have clarified this confusing topic!