You purchased insurance to protect your home and possessions in case of an accident or disaster. When you have to make a claim, remember that you have paid good money for this protection so follow these rules to get the settlement and reimbursement that you deserve. Below are tips for success when negotiating an insurance settlement.
When a disaster or an accident strikes, stay calm and avoid the temptation to provide too much information or admit any fault. At the beginning of the negotiation process, is the time to stand your ground against the insurance adjuster. If you don’t follow the important advice below, your claim may be settled for less than you deserve.
Providing too much information too soon in the process is likely to be against your best interests. Additional details can be added later in the process, but any information you do share will become part of the claim and you cannot make changes later.
Keep these rules in mind during the negotiations:
- Keep the conversation professional. The adjuster has his company’s best interests in mind, not yours. Prepare yourself to fight for your rights armed with the facts of the claim. Don’t let the adjuster distract you or engage you in chit-chat. Staying on topic is more important than being polite.
- Refuse to give a recorded statement. If you have an attorney, let them advise you. Otherwise, don’t provide a recorded statement because it will part of the claim, that cannot be revised later. You are happy to be interviewed, but not recorded.
- Don’t let the adjuster “win you over.” Stay professional and refrain from being too friendly or talkative with the insurance professional who is there to get information from you that the company can use to deny your claim or reduce your payout. Don’t let yourself get talked into sharing more information than you intend to. Protect yourself.
- Don’t editorialize or offer opinions. That may come later, but for now, just discuss the basic facts.
- Don’t share more than the facts. Don’t offer additional information or “your take on what happened.” Keep your answers focused on the specific and relevant information:
- Your contact information: name, address, phone number, and email address
- Where the accident happened, and the date and time it happened
- Where your car was before, during, and after the incident
- Stick to the truth. Present the facts. Don’t be tempted to lie or try to mislead the adjuster about any detail because it may discredit your version of what happened when the truth is later revealed.
- Wait until you finish treatment to release your medical records to the insurance company. The insurance company doesn’t need your medical records right away. You can provide the records when you are close to the end of your treatment.
- Control the adjuster’s access to information, do not provide your social security number. The adjuster will likely check your credit and access other irrelevant information to try to use it against you.
- Don’t offer information about previous injuries. If the adjuster knows you have been injured previously, they are likely to try to blame the previous injury for the current medical issues you are experiencing. It is important to have your doctor document your previous medical conditions and be clear they are not the cause of your current injuries.
- Avoid claiming you have whiplash. Before you are diagnosed, don’t mention whiplash to the insurance adjuster because they will try to argue against it.
- Don’t embellish the truth. Remember that the claims adjuster is well trained and hears stories about injuries all day long. Keep your experience truthful and based on the facts because making the injuries or accident seem more serious will not work to your advantage.
- Don’t provide unnecessary or irrelevant information. The insurance adjuster doesn’t need to talk with your family and friends or contact your office unless they are witnesses. Control the information you give out so that you know all that has been shared with the adjuster about your personal injury claim.
- Prepare yourself for the possibility of the claim going to trial. Not all claims settle out of court. Your statement about the facts of the claim may need to be presented on the witness stand in court. Be mindful of the possibility and prepare accordingly.
If these Tips don’t Work When Negotiating an Insurance Settlement, Hire a Lawyer
Dealing with the insurance company on your own can be challenging. Get the help you need. Mynor E. Rodriguez is available to answer any questions you have about the process. Contact Mynor E. Rodriguez with questions about your insurance claim.