Whether a consumer has suffered a loss due to a car collision, a home fire or other event, knowing how to negotiate with an insurance company is important to receive a fair settlement. Though the insurance company has attorneys and other professionals on their side to keep the claim payout as low as possible, it is possible for a consumer to receive a fair settlement on an insurance claim.
Document the Event
After a consumer suffers a loss, the consumer should document all of the events in question as well as the names and phone numbers of witnesses. Consumers should document the date, time and place of the event and the actions immediately before and after the event. If police or other emergency responders came to the scene, gather copies of their official reports. By having this documentation, the consumer will be able to show what happened to prove fault and that the losses claimed are legitimate.
Know the Value
In order to secure a proper settlement from an insurance company, it is important to determine the value of the loss. This may be a simple or complicated process depending on the nature of the loss. A few estimates from repair shops will determine the amount of the loss for an auto accident, while a personal injury may require some time and multiple doctor visits to properly assess. In any case, consumers need to receive documentation from experts noting the loss and the costs associated with repairing or replacing the damage.
Don’t Settle For Less
Insurance companies will often make a low offer to a claimant. While many consumers will accept the offer without question, this is a serious mistake. Consumers should question the offer and have the adjuster or other insurance company representative explain how the number was determined. Once the consumer hears the response, the consumer should respond with documentation proving that the amount is insufficient and request the proper amount.
If a consumer is unable to successfully negotiate with an insurance company to receive a proper settlement amount, there are two options for the consumer to take. The consumer can hire an attorney or contact their state’s insurance commission for assistance. Hiring an attorney can result in quicker results, but the attorney’s fees will reduce the amount of the settlement received by the consumer. However, in cases where the losses are significant or the damages long-lasting (such as serious physical injury), consumers should consider hiring an attorney to represent their interests. The state’s insurance commission will often look into claims and intercede for consumers receiving unfair treatment.