Dealing With Insurance Adjusters
Insurance adjusters may go by different titles, like claims specialist, claims analyst, or claims representative, but they all have the same job. You will probably encounter one after filing an auto accident insurance claim. There are claims adjusters, public adjusters, and independent adjusters. The claims adjusters work for insurance companies to investigate accidents and negotiate settlements. Public adjusters work independently on a freelance basis for members of the public. Independent adjusters also work independently on a freelance basis, but for government agencies and insurance companies. They all work to investigate accidents, determine liability, and negotiate a settlement agreement with the victim who filed the claim.
Initial Contact with Insurance Adjuster
You are likely to hear from an insurance adjuster with a phone call. You may feel pressured to make a statement, but you should politely refuse to do so without first speaking up with an attorney and following up with your medical care provider. It is okay to tell the insurance adjuster that you would like more time before making a statement. If you make a statement, you will be bound to whatever you say, and it is easy to say the wrong thing. Take your time, and consider completing a release for the insurance adjuster to have access to medical records.
Your vehicle repair expenses will also be addressed by the insurance adjuster. You can inform the adjuster that you are going to take your car to a shop, and you do not have to use the insurance company recommended mechanics. You should also request that only OEM (original equipment manufactured) parts be used on your vehicle, to avoid questionable quality substitutes. Before you end the first meeting with the insurance adjuster, ask for your claim number and for a written document that confirms the claim has been opened.
It is essential to keep the insurance adjuster updated about your medical condition, the condition of any damaged property (vehicle), and all receipts from anything that you’ve paid out of pocket for medical care or vehicle repairs. You should remain organized, keep your information together, and keep your case at the top of the insurance adjuster’s list of cases. Finally, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you have a reasonable basis for your claim, maximizing its value.
Negotiating for a Settlement Agreement
An insurance claims adjuster wants to convince you to settle quickly for the lowest amount possible. Ultimately, they are working to save money for the insurance company. They also have several cases to deal with at any given time. You’re going to know more about your own case than the insurance adjuster, if you stay on top of things. Staying organized will put you in a better position when it’s time to negotiate.
The insurance adjuster will also be limited in his or her authority to offer a settlement amount. The insurance company will give the adjuster a range to stay within, and the first offer will typically be on the low end of this range. It can give you an idea of what the insurance adjuster is working with. Senior adjusters are likely to have higher limits, though they cannot usually offer anything more. If they wish to, they will likely need to get approval from a supervisor or manager. Follow up with any communications like this and send a reminder letter if you don’t hear back by a set date.