No one wants to find themselves in a situation where they need to make an auto insurance claim. However, when an accident occurs or a vehicle is damaged due to severe weather (such as hail), it may very well be necessary to file a claim and put that insurance policy to use.
Any time a major claim is made, such as an accident claim, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to the case to assess the circumstances and ultimately decide whether the claim will be accepted and, if so, what kind of settlement will be offered. In the case of an accident, you may find yourself working with an adjuster from their own insurance company or from the other involved party’s insurance company. Either way, knowing how to deal with an insurance adjuster can make all the difference in one’s ultimate settlement.
Be as Prepared as Possible
Preparation is key; having all of your necessary documentation on-hand and having done some research prior to meeting with the adjuster will prove to them that you mean business. This reduces the chances of an adjuster trying to take advantage of you. Specifically, for a car wreck, it’s a good idea to do some research on the Kelly Blue Book value of your vehicle, as well as having copies of any related medical bills or repair bills readily available.
Never Accept the First Offer
Often, insurance companies will be quick to throw a low-ball offer out there, just to see if you will accept it. They hope that you will be so desperate for the money to repair your car or cover your medical bills that you’ll accept whatever they offer right away. This is almost never a wise choice. Instead, it’s better to work with a car accident attorney to assess the first offer and determine whether or not it’s fair; if it’s not, then a counter offer will need to be made.
Ask for Justification
When rejecting an insurance company’s first offer, it’s always a good idea to ask for the adjuster’s justification for the original offer. They will provide reasons as to why the offer was as low as it was. From there (and while working with an attorney), you can refute those reasons in a formally written letter, which can then be sent back to the insurance company, along with the rejection. This can be a great way to get insurance adjusters to increase their settlement offers and getting them to take the situation more seriously.
Trying to negotiate with an insurance adjuster is never fun or easy, but it is possible. By taking the time to follow these tips, it’s possible for you to get the maximum settlement offer you’re truly entitled to. For those dealing with a car accident settlement and looking for legal advice, contact Ginnis & Krathen at (888) 725-3240 to set up a free consultation.