Why Is the Insurance Company Offering So Little for My Injury?
Many people operate under a false assumption that insurance companies exist to provide relief to those affected by unpredictable tragedies and the negligence of others. The reality is that insurance companies are businesses that exist to turn a profit. When insurance companies pay out on policy claims, they lose money, and therefore look for any reason they can find to lower claim amounts or deny claims whenever possible. While this may sound unethical, the reality is that an insurance policy is a paid promise, and the insurer only has to pay what a policy dictates. The insurer has the right to investigate the validity of any claim against a policy and adjust a settlement based on their findings.
Insurers Always Aim Low
A policy may state that it will provide a certain amount of coverage for damages, but this does not mean it will definitely provide the maximum possible coverage amount. For example, a driver’s auto insurance policy may dictate it will provide up to $100,000 in coverage for vehicle repairs and medical expenses after an accident, but there are likely many caveats to such coverage. The claims adjuster assigned to such a claim will investigate the claimant’s accident to determine whether or not the claimant violated any condition of the policy or failed to meet specific criteria.
Once an insurer receives a claim for coverage from a policyholder, the insurer will typically attempt to offer the lowest settlement amount possible, hoping the policyholder will take it and the issue will be over. However, most claimants will find that the insurer’s first offer is insufficient to cover the related losses. Insurance claims adjusters will also explore every possible avenue for lowballing a claim, including policyholder culpability, contributory negligence, filing deadlines, and many more possibilities.
Be Cautious When Speaking with Insurers
It’s always wise to reach out to a reliable attorney before attempting to deal with insurance companies. In some situations, you could unintentionally lock yourself into a low settlement offer by providing too much information too soon. For example, you may not realize the full extent of your injuries after an accident and accept a low offer, only to find later that your injuries are much more severe and you cannot make another claim for the same incident.
If you get into an accident with another driver who is clearly at fault for the damages, that driver’s insurance company will likely contact you shortly after the accident. Before answering any of the other driver’s insurer’s questions, speak with an attorney. The right attorney will advise you concerning how much information to offer, and explain how offering too much or saying the wrong thing can severely impact a settlement amount.
Vet Attorneys Carefully
You may feel rushed after an accident to get the ball rolling with dealing with insurance companies, but it’s important to take your time to increase your chances of receiving an acceptable settlement. Don’t accept representation from an attorney until you have carefully investigated their track record for handling insurance concerns. Hiring the wrong attorney can not only lead to a lower settlement than you would receive with a better attorney, but may also lead to higher legal fees for worse representation than you would receive with a better attorney.