What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Settlement?
That insurance adjuster you’ve been talking to may be friendly, but he isn’t your friend. After a car crash, one thing to keep in mind during your negotiations with an at-fault party’s insurance reps is the fact that they work for the insurance company and not for you. Their job is not to get you adequate compensation; it is to hold onto as much of the company’s profits as possible.
You may want to consult with personal injury lawyers before you speak to the claims adjuster at all. Lawyers have a lot of experience negotiating with insurance companies, and they know the tricks they use to maximize their profits. They make money by collecting premiums, investing them, and paying out as little as possible. Your health and future are nothing more than lost profits to them.
If you were the victim of an accident and it wasn’t your fault, dealing with the insurance company is unavoidable. Either you or your attorney are going to have to settle with them or else you’ll end up in court. Knowing these three tips will make it easier for you to get a fair settlement.
3 Settlement Negotiation Tips
This is your starting point for smooth negotiations that will leave you satisfied at the end. Don’t speak to that insurance adjuster until you’ve read these tips.
Determine a Settlement Amount
You’ll want to show up to negotiations with a specific figure in mind. This will show the insurance rep that you understand the value of your case and you aren’t going to be tricked into accepting less than what you are owed. To determine this figure, you’ll need to:
- Gather your medical bills and add them up
- Calculate the amount of wages you lost
- Determine the value of your pain and suffering
Bring any bills or paycheck stubs you have as proof that you have this evidence and could use it in court. To calculate pain and suffering, choose a number between one and five based upon the severity of your injuries (one for minor injuries, and five for the most serious traffic injuries). Multiply your bills and lost wages by that number to determine pain and suffering.
Keep in mind that you may not get the exact amount you want, and be prepared to accept less if the situation warrants it. It’s best to decide on the minimum amount you would be willing to walk away with before you arrive, but do not share this lowball amount with the insurance rep.
Don’t Take the First Offer
In almost all cases, the first settlement offer is going to be far too low. This is a negotiation tactic insurance companies use to test you. They are seeing if you understand the value of your claim and if they can get away with giving you less. At this point, you should go down a little from your original figure. This shows that you’re willing to compromise, but you aren’t at a fair figure yet.
.It can be tempting to take whatever they offer when you’re in pain and the bills are piling up. Insurance companies know this and count on it. Continuing to negotiate could mean the difference between being able to pay your bills or ending up in debt.
Ask For an Explanation
If the insurance representative won’t offer you a fair amount, ask them to explain in detail why they do not believe the amount you have in mind is fair. Take detailed notes and respond to each point in your next demand letter response.
Once you have proven your points the insurance company may offer you a decent settlement amount so they can avoid court. Most car accident cases are settled out of court, and yours may be too if you play your cards right.
Feature Image by Thomas Breher from Pixabay