When you are hurt in a car accident or other accidents happen that result in bodily injury, it is important to submit a demand letter with proper supporting documents to the insurance company immediately. After this claim is submitted, you will begin the negotiation process with the insurance company. This usually only consists of a few phone calls with an insurance claims adjuster. To ensure that you have successful negotiation in your favor, there are certain things that you should know beforehand and understand about the process. Here are a few tips to help you successfully negotiate with an insurance company.
Understand the Process
The first thing you should do before going into negotiations is understand how the process works. During your first call with the adjuster, you two will discuss the validity and weaknesses in your claim. The adjuster will then offer to settle your claim for an amount lower than what you requested in your demand letter. You will then counter with a higher amount that will be lower than your original. After two or three more phone calls, you and the adjuster will finally agree on a settlement figure. You may also receive a reservation of rights letter in the mail from the insurance company. This letter simply protects the insurance company and informs you that the company has the right not to pay if the accident is not covered by your policy. Hiring an attorney can help you better prepare for and understand this process, as well as help you to protect yourself and your interests during the negotiation process.
Know Your Settlement Amount
Your next tip for negotiating with an insurance company is know the amount you want for your settlement. If you do not already have a figure in mind, you will be more likely to end up with a lower amount than you deserve. This figure or range should already be stated in your demand letter. You should also have in mind the minimum amount that you are willing to accept, but this is for your knowledge only. This will help you to hold firm when you are under the pressures of negotiation. You also do not have to hold firmly to your original settlement amount. If the adjuster points out certain facts that you have not previously considered, it may be necessary for you to lower your claim—or, if the adjuster offers an amount at or near your minimum, you may want to increase your asking amount.
Why the Low Offer?
If the initial offer by the adjuster is significantly lower than your claim amount, ask the adjuster to explain why the offer is so low. This is more than likely just a negotiation tactic to see if you understand the worth of your claim, so don’t jump the gun by countering with a lower amount than your original.
Tug at the Heart Strings
There is no need to go over every single fact during negotiations. You should just highlight the main points that are in your favor. Even more, it may help for you to add in any emotional points or triggers to help the adjuster empathize with you. For instance, if your injury hindered you from caring for a child and as a result your child suffered or went without, the insurance company may be more inclined to settle your claim.
Put It All in Writing
It is important to record everything that is discussed during negotiations. After you and your adjuster have reached a settlement, it is important to also immediately confirm that agreement in a letter. There is no need for a long letter; just simply state the amount you settled on, everything that the settlement amount covers and the date you expect to receive the settlement documents back from the insurance company.
If you have questions about a settlement claim or negotiations with an insurance company, contact Heuser & Heuser LLP today.