When someone is injured in an auto accident or suffers damage to their property, they turn to insurance companies to cover the cost. However, dealing with insurance companies is a drawn out and confusing process. While many insurance companies abide by the law, some may cut corners and be deceptive to protect the company’s financial interest.
The most difficult aspect after an accident or property damage is dealing with insurance adjusters. This person will typically contact you within a few days following the incident, which may be a bit longer after a natural disaster. The adjuster will want to settle the claim quickly, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Here are a few tips for dealing with an insurance adjuster.
- Do Not Accept the First Offer
Most claimants are quick to accept the first offer from insurance companies because they need the funds to fix their vehicle or home. Insurance adjusters take advantage of distressed claimants and try to quickly settle a claim before they realize the full extent of the damage.
You may be tempted to accept the first offer but taking it could result in not having enough to cover the damage. Your best course of action is to ensure you understand the degree of damage and how much you need to repair it. You can reject the first offer if it is not enough and negotiate with the adjustor to increase the settlement.
Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators. Have an attorney negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive the payout you need.
- Adjusters are Not Your Friend
Insurance adjusters are friendly people, but they are not your friend. Being friendly to claimants is a strategy they use to have you trust them. They believe that once you trust them, you will feel more comfortable and willing to provide information that may damage your claim.
It’s vital you remember adjusters are working in the best interest of the insurance company; not you. They are not too concerned about your situation, only resolving your claim.
- Be Mindful of What You Say
We have all heard the police say, “Anything you say or do can be used against you…” Insurance adjusters should be telling you the same thing. They will be listening very carefully to everything you tell them. They may take a small comment like “they came out of nowhere,” and twist it into you were not paying attention.
- Do Not Give into Their Tactics
The insurance adjuster might ignore your claim if you deny their original settlement. Do not fall for this delaying tactic. The adjuster may also say they lost paperwork you already submitted, try to transfer you to another agent or fail to return your calls.
Their goal is that you will either give up and accept the first offer or miss the deadline for filing a lawsuit. The best way to deal with the delaying tactic is to hire an attorney so they can make the calls for you.
- Ask Why the Initial Offer Was Low
Low initial offers are often a negotiating tactic by adjusters to see if you know how much your claim is really worth. Rather than accepting the offer, ask the adjuster to give you a specific reason why the offer is so low. Be sure to take detailed notes of what they told you and respond with a brief letter explaining all the factors they mentioned.
- Document Everything
Saving documents and other supporting evidence is the key to a painless claim. Make sure you keep all receipts and take photos of any damage. You should also make note of any phone conversations and save all email communication. By having this evidence, you can use it to further your demand and backup misinformation from adjusters.
- Retain Legal Counsel
You have suffered a major loss and filed an insurance claim. You are unaware of your rights as a claimant and worry your insurance company is not being honest with you. By retaining a lawyer early in the claims process, you can rest assured your claim will be handled properly.
Suffering any loss, whether it be from a fire, problematic tenant or auto accident is already a stressful situation. Filing an insurance claim will only add to the stress, which you do not need. While you should be worried about recovering from the incident, you are now burdened with dealing with the antics of an insurance adjuster. An insurance lawyer will carry this burden for you and ensure you receive the funds you need to recover.
You will have a better chance of receiving a greater payout by filing an insurance claim with an attorney. Michael Germain has been involved in litigating insurance claims for over a decade. Call (813) 835-8888 to find out how he can help.