From a profit perspective, it’s in the insurance company’s best interest to pay you less for your claim and make sure it’s not fraudulent. Read on to learn how you can make sure your claim is taken seriously and that you get a fair payout.
Do Your Research and Gather Your Documents
First, make sure you really understand your insurance policy and coverage details. You should also know the approximate Kelley Blue Book value of your car at the time of the accident and get several quotes from different auto body shops for repairs. Keep any relevant medical bills nearby to help you show the impact of healthcare expenses. By having these numbers on hand, you’ll have hard evidence to reference if the insurance company tries to undervalue things.
Helpful Tips for Negotiation and More
When dealing with your insurance company, keep these key things in mind:
- Practice negotiating ahead of time. You might even ask someone you trust to play the role of the insurance agent and have a practice call with them to make sure you’re ready to stand up for yourself.
- Consider hiring a personal injury attorney for legal guidance. Never sign any waivers, releases, or other documents with the insurance company without first contacting this attorney!
- Never accept the first offer—it’s always the very least of what they’re willing to give you.
- Remember to address the impact of medical expenses, not just car repairs.
- Keep a level head and back up your points with evidence—this is where that research comes in.
- Be extremely careful not to make statements that could be in any way interpreted as admissions of fault. Even something as simple as “I should have seen it coming” has the potential to work against you.
- Don’t accept anything that doesn’t seem fair to you, even if it’s their final offer. If you think you’re being unfairly denied coverage or offered less than you deserve, contact a lawyer who can help you fight back.
Handling a Write-Off
If repair costs would exceed the vehicle’s market value, you’ll likely be dealing with a write-off or “total loss.” Instead of covering the costs of repairs, your insurance company essentially buys the car from you, after which they can sell it for scrap or salvage. Many who take a write-off choose to put that money toward a replacement vehicle.
Just like with other claims, it’s important to know your car’s value to make sure they offer you a fair deal. The same tips and techniques can be used to ensure you get good payment for your write-off.
Get the Help You Need to Make a Fair Claim
The accident attorneys at Johnson Garcia, LLP have the experience and knowledge you need on your side. We know how insurance companies work to protect their own interests, and we’ll use that knowledge to fight for your rights as both an accident victim and a paying insurance customer. Call us at 832-844-6700 to set up your free initial consultation.