Should I Take What The Insurance Company Offers Me?
If you've been involved in an accident or suffered some other type of loss, you may be wondering whether you should accept the offer made by your insurance company. While the offer may seem like a quick and easy solution to your problems, you need to understand that it may not always be in your best interest to take what the insurance company is offering you.
As a policyholder, you need to know that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. This means that their primary goal is to make money, not to pay out claims. While insurance companies have a legal obligation to act in good faith when handling claims, this doesn't mean that they won't try to minimize the amount they pay out.
When you suspect your insurance company is trying to play tricks on you by withholding your compensation without a valid reason or unjustly denying your claim, you should seek the help of an insurance claim attorney.
What Should You Do If Your Insurance Company Makes A Settlement Offer To You?
When an insurance company makes you an offer, it's essential to remember that this is just the starting point for negotiations. You have the right to negotiate with your insurance company and to try to get a better offer. However, before you start negotiating, you must have a clear understanding of the value of your claim.
The value of your claim will depend on several factors, including the nature and extent of your personal injuries, the cost of medical treatment, the amount of lost wages, and the pain and suffering you have experienced. To determine the value of your claim, you may want to consult with an attorney or other qualified professional who can help you calculate your damages.
Once you have a clear understanding of the value of your claim, you can begin negotiations with your insurance company. During negotiations, it's vital to keep in mind that your insurance company is likely to offer you a lower amount than what you believe your claim is worth. This is because the insurance company is trying to minimize its costs and maximize its profits.
When negotiating with your insurance company, you should be prepared to provide documentation and evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, receipts for medical treatment, and documentation of lost wages. You should also be prepared to explain how an accident or loss has impacted your life and caused you pain and suffering.
Additionally, it's important to approach negotiations with a clear understanding of your bottom line. This is the minimum amount you are willing to accept to settle your claim. If the insurance company's offer is below your bottom line, you should be prepared to walk away from the negotiations and consider other options, such as filing a lawsuit.
Before accepting an offer from your insurance company, you should also consider the long-term implications of your decision. If you accept a lowball settlement offer from your insurance company, you may be giving up your right to pursue additional compensation in the future. This is because most insurance companies require claimants to sign a release form when they accept a settlement offer. This release form typically releases the insurance company from any further liability related to the accident or loss.
In some cases, accepting an offer from the insurance company may be your best option. For example, if you have relatively minor injuries and the insurance company's offer is close to the value of your claim, it makes sense to accept the offer and avoid the time, expense, and stress of a lawsuit.
However, in other cases, it may be in your best interest to reject the insurance company's offer and pursue a lawsuit, meaning you may have to hire an experienced attorney.
This may be the case if you have suffered serious injuries that will require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation, or if the insurance company's offer is significantly lower than the value of your claim.
Methods Used By Insurance Companies To Stall, Lower, Or Limit Settlement Offers
1. Offering Low Initial Settlement Offers
Insurance companies may offer you a low initial settlement offer in hopes that you will accept it without negotiating or seeking legal advice.
2. Delaying The Claims Process
Insurance companies may intentionally delay the claims process by requesting unnecessary documentation, conducting lengthy investigations, or simply not responding promptly.
3. Blaming The Victim
Insurers may try to shift blame onto the victim by claiming they were at fault for the accident or loss, or by questioning the severity of their injuries.
4. Using Recorded Statements Against You
Insurance adjusters may ask you to give a recorded statement, which can be used against you later in the claims process.
5. Downplaying The Extent Of Your Injuries Or Losses
Insurance companies may argue that your injuries or losses are not as severe as you claim, to justify a lower settlement offer.
6. Pressure Tactics
Insurers may use pressure tactics, such as threatening to withdraw the offer or suggesting that a lawsuit will result in a worse outcome for you.
7. Requiring Excessive Documentation
Insurance companies may request an excessive amount of documentation, which can be time-consuming and expensive to obtain. This can also delay the claims process and make it more difficult for you to receive a fair settlement offer.
What To Expect If You Reject Your Insurer's Settlement Offer
If you reject the initial settlement offer, the insurance company may come back with a higher offer in an attempt to settle the claim. This may continue back and forth until a mutually agreeable settlement is reached.
If negotiations fail to result in an acceptable settlement, mediation may be an option. In mediation, a neutral third party facilitates negotiations between you and your insurance company to resolve the claim. Mediation can be a helpful alternative to a trial, as it is often faster and less expensive.
Another alternative is arbitration. Some insurance policies include an arbitration clause, which requires you to submit to binding arbitration instead of going to trial. In arbitration, an arbitrator hears evidence from both sides and makes a binding decision on the outcome of the case.
If all attempts at settlement fail, litigation may be necessary. This involves filing a lawsuit against the other party and taking the case to court. Litigation can be expensive and time-consuming, but it may be essential to achieve a fair outcome in some cases.
Learn How to Get Full Payment for Your Claim
If your insurance provider refuses to honor your claim, the Voss Law Firm can help you get paid for your losses—and potentially more. Call us at (888) 614-7730 or complete our contact form today to get answers to your questions, or start reading your copy of our free book, Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse, and Refuse.