Image credit: Zakaria Zayane on Unsplash
Auto insurers can be very secretive about the best course of action for you after a car crash. There are several things car insurance companies somehow mysteriously fail to inform their policyholders about, which could cost you dearly. The practice is so common that one can’t help but wonder whether the whole thing is a huge conspiracy perpetrated by the industry for the sake of their bottom lines.
Insurance Adjusters Are Not Your Friend
Insurance adjusters might look friendly and have a smooth talk, but they do not have your best interests at heart. They work for the car insurance company and their end goal is to find the best ways to pay you the least amount legally possible after a car accident. Insurance adjusters’ most commonly used tactics are delays, double-talk, and sketchy settlement offers.
They may also try to get you to sign certain documents or give them access to your records to later use the info to undermine your case. For instance, they want you to sign documents in which you admit that your injuries are not that big or that you were somehow at fault for the crash. They might also try to check out your medical records to gather info that might later reduce the payout on your claim or deny the claim altogether.
So, take all their offers with a grain of salt and always double-check their claims. Don’t engage in small talk with an insurance adjuster and never tell him or her unnecessary info about you that might be later used against you. An insurance company can rip you off of tens of thousands of dollars (legally) if you lower your guard just because the company reps have been so nice to you.
You Can File the Claims by Yourself
You don’t need the agent to file your insurance claims, but insurers are often tight-lipped about it. Their chief goal is to drag out things in hopes that you either give up or that there would be a considerable reduction of the payouts on your claims. An agent will usually slow things down because of his or her “busy schedule.” Take matters into your own hands and file the claims yourself.
You Can Ask for a Second Medical Opinion
Just like insurance adjusters, the medic the insurance company sends to have you examined if you file an injury claim is usually on the company’s payroll. This doctor will try to get all the information necessary to help the insurer deny your claim or pay less. When accessing your medical records, he or she will be looking for pre-existing conditions or hints that your injuries are not that bad.
The insurance company will never tell you that you have the right to ask for a second medical opinion. You can undergo a second examination and bring new evidence to solidify your case. If the insurance company denies the new evidence, hire a lawyer.
The First Settlement Offer Could be (a Lot) Better
Shortly after a crash, car insurers will try to push you into a quick settlement in a bid to pay you less than your claim is worth. You might be desperate to get quick money to cover your medical bills, lost income, and car repairs, but NEVER accept their first offer. You could reach a much better settlement later on if you have the patience and the resources to hold on. An attorney can negotiate a fairer final settlement and make sure that you get all the money you can get under your policy.
An insurance company will never make an offer, regardless of how generous it might be, if it means that they would be losing money afterwards. In most cases, the initial offer is a bait for you to sign a Release of All Claims form in which you give up the right to sue the insurer over any unremitted benefits. The move could cost you tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of unpaid medical bills.
An Attorney Can Help You Squeeze More Money Out
Car insurance companies will not tell you that hiring an attorney will help you get better compensation for your pain and suffering. Car insurers are aware that many car accident attorneys formerly worked for insurance companies as well, so they know their cheap tactics like the back of their hand.
If you hire an attorney for a car accident, you will get a fairer settlement, you may notice that you have much more coverage than they originally told you, and you may even be referred to a trusted medical professional to properly estimate your injuries. A good car accident attorney is worth his salt, especially if hefty medical bills are involved. So, don’t fall for the insurer’s lies about an attorney costing more than your claims are worth. There’s a reason car insurance companies have attorneys to back them up.
Featured image credit: Zakaria Zayane on Unsplash