When you have been injured in a car accident or hurt from medical malpractice, there comes a point in the claims process where the insurance company makes an offer to settle your claim. Typically, the insurance claims adjuster represents the insurer during negotiations. Their job is to get a settlement that is favorable to the company. For obvious reasons, your focus is to get the best offer for yourself. Medical expenses, time from work and ongoing treatment are financial burdens you simply cannot afford to bear without some type of compensation. Once you present the insurance company with a demand letter, negotiations begin. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this process on terms that ultimately resolve in your favor.
How Negotiating an Insurance Claim Works
The initial call with the adjuster is typically the time when both of you make points about the validity of your claim. Expect the first offer from the adjuster to be much lower than the amount that you listed in your demand letter. Your counter offer should be lower than the demand letter request but higher than the adjuster’s initial offer. This process may take two or three telephone calls before the settlement figure falls somewhere between the adjuster’s low and your high figure.
Determine What Your Claim is Worth
Throughout the negotiations, you should have a settlement amount in mind, which is the lowest that you are willing to accept. Never let the adjuster know your bare minimum; keep that to yourself when you feel pressure during the negotiations.
Never Accept the First Offer
Jumping at the first offer is never a good thing. The adjuster will usually offer you the lowest amount first. This is often used as a tactic to see if you are aware of the process. Counter reasonable offers and never accept an amount you know will not cover what you have lost because of the injury. Countering with an amount that is slightly lower than your demand letter amount demonstrates that you are willing to compromise.
Get the Agreed Settlement in Writing
Once the negotiations are complete and you have agreed to a settlement, make sure you get it in writing from the adjuster. You can also confirm the amount in a letter to the insurance adjuster. Include everything that the stated settlement should cover: your injuries, damages and the date that you expect to receive settlement documents.