Dealing with your insurance company is one of the most complicated aspects after a car accident. In general, you receive a call from your insurance adjuster within few days of the accident. He will try to settle down the claim for the smallest possible amount. Common reasons for low settlement offers are claims of disputed liability and the adjuster not taking in to account all of the relevant facts to properly make a fair valuation of the claim.
When you purchased a car insurance policy in kenya, the agents assured that they will cover you fully for the particular perils if you experience any kind of loss or bodily injury. Reality versus your assumptions seems very close. Abruptly, you meet an accident, where you suffered a huge loss. You have reported your claim and have provided all the requested details to your insurer.
Now you are looking for insurance to get relief. You wait patiently for confirmation of coverage and the payment of your documented loss. But what if, you receive a letter denying your claim rather than the check that you had expected or you are receiving an offer of payment that is only a fraction of the value of your claim.
Communicating with your claim adjusters may leave you with many questions. Am I going to get a fair settlement or should I hire a lawyer? What should I do?
Here are ten tips to keep in mind as you interact with your insurance company and its adjusters.
1. Do not negotiate for the amount not worth
Keep in mind that an insurance adjuster is trained to protect the interests of the insurance company. So when they talk to you, they always try to minimize the recovery amount to be paid for each claim. This becomes your responsibility not to settle for the amount for less amount than your actual claim value.
2. Insurance Companies do not respond you promptly
When a customer files a claim after a car accident, the insurance companies generally do not recognize the value of incident, Even if you are not at fault, they delay to pay the claim or sometimes deny which becomes a stressful situation for the victim.
3.Never settle for the first settlement offer, it may be rarely fair
Do not automatically accept the first settlement offer – it is rarely a fair one. Mostly after the accident, people severely require money to get their vehicle repaired or to pay medical bills. Insurance companies know that car accident victims are vulnerable and almost always offer a low ball settlement right away.
The insurance company will try to get you to settle your accident claim for a low amount to pay for auto repairs, medical care, and lost wages. But the situations may leave you confused and helpless and you may not actually realize the full extent of your injuries, and thus, you accept the first offer could result in you coming up short as the bills pile up.
4. They will try to avoid paying your medical expenses.
As a part of trying to depreciate the settlement offer, the insurance company may even claim that you are lying about your injuries or trying to commit fraud. So this is really important that you keep copies of all records of your visits to the doctor and follow up on any recommended treatment.
5. Anything you say can — and will — be used against you.
Insurance adjusters even try to forcefully convince you to their version of the car accident. Never do it. Do not simply agree to a question asked. Do not give a recorded statement or sign any agreements until you talk to a personal injury attorney – no matter how reasonable the settlement may seem.
6. You do not have to take your car to the body shop
In fact, you shouldn’t even take your vehicle to a repairing shop partnered with your insurance company because they have agreements in place with these repair shops and as such, the shops often cut corners to keep costs low. They may use cheap replacement parts or not even repair all of the damages to your vehicle. You have the right to choose where to have your car repaired. Be sure to bring the insurance company’s repair estimate with you.
7. You have the right to appeal the insurance company’s offer
Most of the time, an insurance company decides to consider a vehicle at “total loss” if the cost of its repairs is 70 percent or more of the car’s value. In such a case, your insurance company is supposed to issue you a check for the vehicle’s fair market value.
At the time of settlement, if you think the number is particularly low, you might want to come up with your own list or even hire your own adjuster for a second evaluation. Provided with that information, you can sue the insurance company’s offer.
8. When you don’t settle right away, they start ignoring you.
When your insurance company realizes that you won’t accept their first offer, they begin to ignore you or intentionally delay your claim. Your agents pretend to lose paperwork which you have already submitted, transferring you to a different agent or not returning your calls hoping you will either give up or miss the deadline to file suit. The best way to deal with an insurance company during this kind of situation is to hire an attorney to start making the calls for you.
9. They may threaten to take away your driver’s license.
One of the latest extortion methods from insurance companies is that the insurance company does not take into account who was at fault for the accident or any other agreements in place. If you receive a letter asking you to pay the debt and threatening to have your driver’s license suspended if you don’t – do not panic.
Until and unless, the opponents have a formal judgment against you, nobody can do anything. You should send a letter by certified mail with return receipt requested to the “collections” agency and demand proof of the debt. It will not be able to provide proof because at this point there is no valid debt, just allegations from an insurance company that you owe this money.
10. Never sign anything unless you completely understand what it means or you’ve had a lawyer review it.
It is very important to have a professional review anything that the insurance company asks you to sign or agree to.
After you have been injured in a car accident, you cannot count on your insurance company to take care of your best interests. Rather you must contact an experienced lawyer in handling car accident cases to handle the problems of dealing with an insurance company.
Furthermore, if your insurer tries to use other illegal tactics to keep you deprived of your deserved claim amount or does not process your claim in a timely manner, your lawyer will help you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries as well as any damages to your vehicle or property. He may be able to help you file a bad faith insurance claim.
Be aware that you get what you’re paying for. As a customer, you have to know something about your rights against the insurance sector. Following the above-mentioned ways may lead to expediting the payment of your claim and/or getting a reasonable settlement offer.