How to Negotiate Car Insurance Claims

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When you find yourself in an auto accident, your financial situation can be impacted significantly. You might lose your only vehicle, face medical bills and miss time at work. It is the insurance company's job to make sure that you are made financially whole again after the wreck. After the wreck occurs, an insurance adjuster will be in touch with you. At that time, you may need to do some negotiating to make sure that you get the best settlement possible.

Determine a fair amount to ask for. Add up all of the costs associated with the wreck. For example, total up the amount of lost wages that you incurred plus any other costs that you had to pay. Sometimes, consulting an attorney may help you come up with a figure to ask for.

Write a demand letter to the insurance adjuster handling your case. In the letter, include the amount that you want as well as information that backs up the amount you requested. Include some documentation that proves the costs you incurred as well.

Analyze the adjuster's initial offer. The adjuster will typically come out with a low offer and try to get you to accept it. You do not have to accept the offer. In fact, taking the first offer typically will not provide you with the most money for your settlement.

Focus on each separate area of the claim individually. For example, negotiate a settlement amount for the damage to your car, another settlement amount for the pain and suffering, another settlement amount for lost wages and a separate figure for the medical bills. Sometimes, the adjuster will try to lump everything together, which often results in less than you could get if the items were separated.

When dealing with the medical bill aspect of your claim, take your time and be deliberate. Many times, medical bills will continue to come in long after a settlement has been reached. For instance, you may receive one bill from the hospital, another from the doctor and another from the imaging department of the hospital. If you are significantly injured, you may also require continuing medical treatment. Do not sign any waivers of additional claims until you are completely healed and you know no more bills are due.

Wait until the adjuster makes an offer that is acceptable to you. If you are willing to wait on a settlement, the adjuster may be more likely to give you a higher amount. Adjusters are paid to get claims settled quickly and for the lowest amount possible. If you drag out the claim, the insurance company may pay you more. Once the settlement is agreed upon, sign the appropriate documentation and get your check.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not be intimidated by the adjuster. Some adjusters will try to convince you that you cannot get any more money and that you should sign immediately. Take your time and settle on your own schedule.

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