Let’s face it, car accidents are never pleasant, but most of us are bound to deal with at least one over the course of our driving career. Unfortunately, the insurance claim process that follows can sometimes be even worse. When the system works as it should, claimants get the settlement they deserve without too much trouble; but when it doesn’t, insurance disputes arise.
These disputes can manifest themselves in a number of different ways, but every one begins with the same fundamental issue: insurance companies don’t want to pay. At the end of the day, these companies are in business to make a profit, no matter what their commercials say, and will do whatever they can to keep their costs as low as possible. This could lead them to deny your claim, try to shift more blame your way, or offer you a settlement far below your expectation.
That’s why we’ve compiled this brief guide on how to deal with these disputes, so you can get the relief you’re owed, without losing your head along the way.
Don’t Get Pressured into a Bad Deal
It is more than likely that the first offer you receive will fall short of what you believe you deserve. Remember that you are not required to accept it. This first number likely represents the bottom range of what the insurance company is willing to pay, and they will probably reassess if you are willing to make them. Sure, they may stick with their initial offer, but there is no reason to accept it blindly on the first pass.
The second lesson, which really applies to the whole process from start to finish, is to keep a clear head. Whether we like it or not, insurance disputes happen all too frequently and can be incredibly frustrating. It is easy, even tempting, to get angry during these negotiations; try your best to stay calm. Chewing out the obnoxious insurance rep might make you feel better now, but it will only hurt your position in the long run. There is nothing to be gained and a lot to lose.
Get an Independent Appraisal
Many drivers are not even aware that they can do this, and it will cost some extra cash up front, but it can seriously improve your chances of getting the outcome you deserve. Obviously, the insurance company will conduct their own appraisal, but they are almost universally low due to the aforementioned pressure to save their own skin. Taking the time to get an expert, independent appraisal is sometimes the only way to get a fair deal, especially if you feel that your insurance company is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Consider Hiring an Expert
Not every case requires legal representation, but if you’re dealing with an active insurance dispute following an auto accident, finding an experienced, trial-ready, law firm can be an excellent legal and financial decision. In the vast majority of cases, claimants recover significantly more when using an attorney than when self-representing—while avoiding a lot of unnecessary frustration and complication.
Even if you have already begun dealing with an insurance dispute, it may not be too late to hire an auto accident attorney to help out. Indiana Accident Attorneys at Stewart & Stewart have handled hundreds of auto accident insurance dispute cases, and understand how to get the best possible outcomes for our clients.