You pay your monthly insurance premiums on time for a reason. You expect your insurance to cover any injuries and vehicle damage you may sustain in a car accident. However, don’t rely solely on your insurance provider to resolve your personal injury claim. Your insurance company isn’t always looking out for your best interests, and your settlement amount will typically be lower than what you need to cover all of your expenses.
Why do insurance providers typically offer low-ball settlement amounts? The answer is simple, insurance companies are in the business of making money. They often use tactics to reduce the amount of your claim. We’ll take a look at some of the common tactics insurance providers typically employ, along with tips on maximizing the value of your personal injury/property damage case.
How Insurance Companies Try Lowering Settlement Amounts
Every insurance company is different, but most use some of the same tactics in an attempt to reduce settlement amounts.
Delay Approving and Issuing Payments
You pay your insurance premiums on time and expect the same courtesy from your insurer when submitting a claim. No one wants to wait weeks or months to get their settlement check in the mail. While you’re waiting, bills are piling up, along with stress.
Insurance companies aren’t lazy when they procrastinate on settling claims—they know you’ve submitted a claim, and they’re also hoping a lengthy wait will increase your desperation.
After a few weeks of fending off calls from collection agencies inquiring about payment for medical services and vehicle repairs, you’re more likely to accept a low-ball offer out of desperation.
Your Claim is Denied
This is a common stalling tactic and it can send your stress levels skyrocketing. Your initial claim is denied because the insurance provider views the accident as your fault.
You can provide evidence, including police reports, refuting the insurance company’s beliefs, but this rarely results in your claim automatically being approved. In time, your claim will probably be approved, but it can take several weeks.
Sometimes, your claim can be denied because of an issue with the at-fault driver’s insurance. Once again, it can take a long time to work through all of the red tape.
Insurance Benefits are Misrepresented
If you haven’t taken the time to read carefully through your auto insurance policy, now’s the time to get started, which includes reading all of the fine print. Insurance companies occasionally hide important coverage details in the fine print. Not being aware of these details doesn’t mean you can claim coverage.
When you’re aware of all of your policy’s details, it’s easier to win this battle with your insurance adjuster. For example, your insurance agent may claim your policy doesn’t cover uninsured motorists—however, most policies include this in their coverage plan.
If it’s not included, chances are the coverage was offered when you initially signed up for the plan. This is an instance when it pays to know as much as possible about your car insurance coverage.
Working with an Attorney Can Maximize the Value of Your Case
Instead of trying to fight an insurance company by yourself, it pays to hire an experienced accident attorney. To help inform you, here’s a brief breakdown of how an attorney can help maximize your settlement offer.
Communicate with the Insurance Company
Chances are your frustration and stress levels are pretty high, which usually doesn’t make it easier to deal with a reluctant insurance company. Instead, your attorney can handle all of the necessary communications. Best of all, your attorney isn’t intimidated by any of the insurance provider’s common tactics.
Gather and Evaluate Evidence
Your insurance adjuster is going to want plenty of proof of your injuries and vehicle damage—they’ll also want proof the accident isn’t your fault. Your attorney will collect and evaluate the evidence to strengthen your case. This way, you can concentrate on recuperating from your injuries.
Insurance organizations are almost always open to settlement negotiations. They’ll start with a low offer, gradually increasing the amount each time your attorney declines to accept.
Armed with your medical diagnosis, bills, receipts, and other documentation, your attorney will keep going back to the table until an acceptable settlement is reached. If there’s no agreement, your attorney will represent you when your case goes to court.
Talk to an Attorney Instead of an Insurance Agent
Rather than facing the challenge of negotiating with the insurance company yourself, it is wise to delegate this task to your attorney. Their expertise in negotiations often leads to an agreeable settlement in a relatively brief period.
Should negotiations not yield the desired outcome, having your attorney ready to represent you in court ensures that your interests are continually and robustly defended.