Whether you’re dealing with a car accident, a natural disaster, or a terrible injury, you’re learning how little you enjoy dealing with your insurance company. They’re there to help you, but they seem to do little more than make your life more difficult. They have so many questions, and they want so much paperwork from you. It almost seems as if they are deliberately making your life more complicated when you need them to make it as easy as possible in your time of need, and there’s little control in your corner. If you’re dealing with an insurance company, you must know these 8 things.
Insurance Agents are Master Negotiators
Insurance agents are some of the best actors and actresses not in the business. They know what role to play and how to play it so they can get you to feel relaxed before they knock you down with their lowball offers. What does this mean? It means insurance adjusters do what they can to get you to trust them so you do whatever they ask, and then they use what you’ve told them to lowball you, negotiate with you, and they work hard to get out of paying what they owe.
Never Accept the First Offer
Insurance agents are trained to offer very low amounts the first time they speak with you. Many people have no idea they can reject that offer and ask for a higher one. Do it, and see what you can get out of the insurance company when you have to make a claim.
“Claims adjusters may attempt to justify low offers by saying the injured person is partly at fault” according to the Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp. Mr Sharp advises that “In order to reject a low-ball settlement offer from an insurance company, injured parties need to send a letter to the claims adjuster stating that the initial offer is unacceptable … and list the reasons why a higher settlement amount is warranted”
Do Not Sign Medical Release Forms
You are not required to sign a full medical release to an insurance company even if they ask. This is release form that allows them to go back into any aspect of your medical history from the time of your birth to see if they can get out of paying your bills. They’ll look for any injuries or illnesses you had from birth and try to pin your accident injuries on a pre-existing condition that makes them free and clear of all charges. Sign nothing, and only provide them with medical paperwork associated with your accident injuries.
Invoke Your Miranda Rights
They’re not read to you by insurance agents, but you should pretend they are and use them. “You have the right to remain silent,” is the most important aspect of this conversation. If you say it to an insurance adjuster, it will be used against you. If you have to answer questions, call your attorney first. You want to be sure you’re answering them correctly, and that you’re not being manipulated into providing information that can be used to deny your claims.
You can Use Your Own Body Shop
You aren’t required to use the auto body shop the insurance agent tells you to use. You have every right to use the one you love the most, the one you trust, or the one you’ve been using your entire life. They make suggestions to you so they can get out of paying more, and sometimes that comes with a poorly repaired vehicle. Pick your own auto body shop and be firm about it.
Don’t Let Them Ignore You
If you don’t settle your claim immediately, you might find the agent ignores you. They can’t find the paperwork you filed, they don’t return your calls, you’re transferred repeatedly, and you’re frustrated. Hire an attorney to deal with this so you don’t end up missing any deadlines for filing a lawsuit. This is what many agents do in hopes you lose track of time and allow your suit to fall apart because of time limits.
Appeal Totaled Vehicle Claims
If an insurance company totals your car, you can appeal that decision. The amount they offer can be too low for you to pay off the vehicle and buy a new one, so you can ask for an appeal. They must then prove why your car is only worth this much or they are required to offer you more. Don’t settle. Appeal this decision right away.
Ignore Scare Tactics
Some insurance agencies use scare tactics to get you to do what they want so they end up coming out ahead. Do not allow an adjuster to tell you that you could lose your license, your car, or your policy. Don’t allow idle threats to scare you. Your insurance company has no control over these things, and they’re only trying to get what they want from you.
Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with, and there is nothing you can do about if you’re not sure how to handle it. Let this information help you make wise decisions, and let it guide you when dealing with your insurance company. You only hurt yourself if you don’t put this information to work for you.