There is no reason why you should be an expert at negotiating with an insurance company, much less if this is something you have never had to do. What’s more, you probably imagine that, when you file a claim with your insurance company, they will ensure that you get as much money as possible to take care of your medical bills and other expenses associated with your injuries.
What may come as a surprise is that they offer you an insufficient amount to cover your basic financial needs. Also, they are pressuring you to sign a document stating that you are satisfied with this amount and that, by signing the document, you consider the case closed and will not pursue any further compensation. If this is happening to you, you need to see here what other techniques the insurance company uses to pay you as little as possible. Read on to find out more.
Understanding Insurance Companies
The first thing you should know is that insurance companies are there to make money and satisfy the interests of their shareholders. To do so, they aim to pay their policyholders as little as possible for their claims. When you are first informed of the amount that you will be receiving from them you may waver between incredulity and fear. Incredulity that they consider that your claim is worth so little, and fear that if you refuse this paltry offer you may end up with even less.
That is why, if this is your first time dealing with an insurance company, it is important to have the tools to recognize whether you are receiving a fair offer or if your insurer is trying to lowball you.
How Can I Tell If I Am Being Offered a Low Amount?
All insurance companies lose money every time they pay out a claim. That is why their goal is to keep all offers low without informing their customers that they are being offered a low amount. It falls on you to figure out whether this is a reasonable amount and how you need to respond to one that is not. In every case, they hope that you will not question things too much and just say yes to the amount they have offered.
Warning Signs of a Lowball Offer
There are major warning signs that you are receiving a low offer. Be on the lookout for:
A settlement that comes too quickly – A serious offer should be one in which your insurer takes the time to investigate the accident and reach a conclusion based on facts. If you accept a low offer, they avoid having to do the necessary work.
There is pressure involved – When your insurance company wants you to accept the offer quickly, it may be because they know that if you have time to study it carefully, you may conclude that you need legal representation. They want you to sign before you have time to hire an attorney.
There is no communication – You find yourself calling the insurance company repeatedly to get your questions or concerns answered, only to be stonewalled by voicemails that never get returned. A warning sign should be that your insurer has stopped talking to you.
They are unwilling to explain their numbers – An offer that is not backed up by an explanation is an offer that you should ignore. You have every right to ask them how they arrived at the amount they are offering, what was taken into account, and what was left out.
You are being blamed – A very common tactic used by insurance companies is to shift the blame to their customers. If they start giving you arguments as to why they think that the injuries were your fault, it is time to reach out to an experienced attorney to help you get things back on track.
If you believe you are getting a low offer, take your time before responding. You may either draft a letter rejecting the settlement offer that suggests a counteroffer of your own or call an attorney to negotiate for you.