How to Avoid Problems when Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
If you have been in a car accident or your car has been involved in one, then you will most likely be talking to an insurance adjuster. This is a necessary process, especially if you are trying to settle or resolve a claim. However, many people who have gone through the experience have found it altogether frustrating, if not impossible. An insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and as such his or her objective is to settle the case as fast and at the lowest possible cost to the company. Once you understand the adjuster’s role in the entire matter, then it is up to you to take control and manage the discussions that you will have.
DO: Prepare for the Meeting
Before you deal with an insurance adjuster, arm yourself with information on how the process will be. There are websites that provide a wealth of resources on how to settle claims on your favor and the kinds of questions that the adjuster will most likely ask during the interview. Know your rights as an insurance policy holder. You are entitled to certain reimbursements that are provided for in the policy. Moreover, there are certain state laws and guidelines that offer protection for individuals that have been involved in vehicular accidents. Being aware of all this will make you more confident when you face the adjuster.
DO: Remember to Exchange Complete Contact Details
There are times when the adjuster will show up while you are still trying to recover from the stress of the accident. While this may be upsetting, you need to have presence of mind when dealing with an insurance company representative. The first thing to do is to get all of their details: the person?s name, the company that they work for, his or her phone number, and the contact numbers of the company. Give your name, your address, and your phone number, as well. Ask him or her if there will be any other person in the company that will be involved in the process and get their details, as well. This way you have established identities and they cannot switch representatives around later.
DO: Answer the Questions as Truthfully as You Can
Provide the basic details of the accident as accurately as you can remember. This includes the time, the place where it happened, and the type of accident. When the adjuster asks about any physical injuries, say that your doctor will give you the full assessment and that he or she will have to wait until that is finished. Never embellish or give any exaggerated claims. It is part of the adjuster’s job to see right through any fabrication and this will just give him or her reason to reduce the settlement claims later on.
DO: Be Confident and Firm but Respectful at All Times
When you talk to an adjuster, establish the point that you are in control of the interview and that you are fully aware of the proceedings. Respond to questions confidently; don’t trail off your sentences or give the impression that you are not sure of your answers. Show that you are serious in your intent to get a fair settlement and that they will get documents at the time you are prepared to give them. The adjuster can be very intimidating, especially if things are not going his or her way during the interview; don’t give in to bullying tactics. Remain courteous at all times, but show that you mean business.
DON’T: Don’t Provide Any Unnecessary Information
Part of the adjuster’s tactics is to win your trust and get you to relax, so that they can get as much information as they can to build their case. Always remember that they are not working for you and as such they are not representing your best interests in this situation. Any information that you tell them can be used against you. You do not have to tell them anything that is not related to the accident. Do not provide any details about your family, your job, your income, and anything else that he or she will ask you.
DON’T: Don’t Feel Pressured to Answer All the Questions
There will be times when the adjuster will ask very pointed or leading questions. If you think answering them will put you at a disadvantage, then don’t provide any response. It is all right to say "I don’t know." If he or she tries to make you explain an answer that will lead to your providing more information than what is needed, then answer something to the effect that "that is all you have to say about the matter." Do not offer opinions as answers either.
DON’T: Don’t Settle Any Claim While You Are Still Being Treated
If you have sustained any injuries from the accident and your doctors have not finished with their diagnosis and treatment prescription, then do not rush into accepting any offer from the adjuster. They may trick you into thinking that you will not get a better offer or you are better off accepting the amount that they are offering right now. If you do not know the extent of your treatment program just yet, then refuse any payment that they are offering you at the time. Most of the time, the amount is not enough to cover the full extent of your recovery. If you accept it, then you cannot go back and demand for more compensation.
DON’T: Don’t Sign or Agree to Anything
Chances are that the adjuster will ask you to sign authorizations to access your records. He or she may also have recorded your conversations and then asked you to sign on the written transcripts. Do not sign anything. You have a right to decline any recorded statement, especially if he or she did it without your knowledge. And if you give them full access to your records, they can take this to their own consultants who will interpret them to their advantage. The best way to handle requests of this nature is to ask them for all the pertinent documents that they may need and to prepare them yourself.
Preparation is the key when dealing with insurance adjusters. Get your facts and your documents in order and know your legal rights. If you have done your homework, then the adjuster will know that he or she cannot scare or intimidate you into a settlement prematurely. Remember that you can always get legal counsel and support if you feel that you cannot do it alone.