5 Tips to Negotiate a Settlement with an Auto Insurance Adjuster
Insurance. Necessary. However, at times, stressful.
Americans pay on average $1500 a year in auto insurance, and this is just to cover losses in case of an accident.
Still, how many times have you heard of insurance companies finding a loophole, and the insuree gets nothing (or very little)?
Have you recently been in a car accident? Alternatively, suffered damage to your car? All through no fault of your own?
You’re worried about being ripped off by your own insurance company, but how do you negotiate an auto insurance claim?
Follow our 5 tips to negotiate a settlement with an auto insurance adjuster to learn about your rights and take your power back.
1. Determine Your Minimum Settlement Figure
Before you discuss any claims with an auto insurance adjuster, decide on a minimum settlement figure in your mind. Do not disclose this figure to the claims adjuster.
It would be a good idea to seek out the advice of a great Auto Accident Attorney in your State
Doing this avoids any rash decisions on your part if the claims adjuster provides you with a “take it or leave it” low-ball offer. The worst thing you can do is make a snap decision that will end with regret.
However, you certainly don’t need to settle for your minimum amount. Wait to see what the claims adjuster offers first. If the adjuster opens the negotiation close to your desired figure, that’s an indication they have more of a budget with which to negotiate.
Raise your settlement minimum to a figure that you would be happy to accept.
2. Don’t Jump at the First Offer
Naturally, claims adjusters will attempt to low-ball you with their first offer. They do this intentionally to determine:
- Do you know how much your claim is worth?
- Do you want to settle quickly?
Each auto insurance adjuster has the approval to settle within a specific range. This range authorized to them, is relative to how experienced they are in dealing with settlement claims.
Once the claims adjuster gives you the first offer, ask yourself two questions:
Is this a reasonable settlement offer from the Auto Insurance Adjuster?
If you believe the figure offered is low, but sounds reasonable, return with a counter-offer that is a little lower than what you initially had in mind.
This type of counter offer shows the auto accident insurance adjuster; you can also be reasonable. It promotes a smoother negotiation, leading to a faster settlement.
Continue to Negotiate a Settlement with an Auto Insurance Adjuster until you reach a mutually agreeable figure.
Remember, the Auto Insurance Company is always looking to minimize their payout and this is especially true in a No Fault State. Sometimes getting an Auto Accident Attorney to take on the loss adjuster can be the difference between an ‘ok’ settlement and a great one.
Alternatively, if it’s not a reasonable offer:
Is it an unreasonably low settlement offer?
If you believe the figure provided is unacceptable, ask the adjuster to justify his offer.
3. Demand an Explanation During Negotiations with the Auto Loss Adjuster
An unreasonably low settlement offer is a popular negotiation tactic set to test your determination. Insurance companies wouldn’t make any money if they paid out what was owed, right?
Instead, they intend to low-ball you and hope you’ll take the money and run. If this is the case, do not lower your original settlement demand. Instead, ask the adjuster to justify his reasons behind the low insurance settlement offer.
Take notes of his explanation, as you will analyze and discuss each point later in a response letter or email.
Get in touch with an Auto Accident Attorney by taking our Free Compensation Checker
If the claims adjuster has brought an overlooked point to your attention, then you can adjust your claim amount. Perhaps there is a liability issue in your auto accident that you failed to take into account. It could make you more responsible for the accident and consequently lower your settlement amount.
However, if you believe the adjuster did not prove your liability to your satisfaction, it may just be a bluff. Hold on to your original demand.
Write a response letter to the auto insurance company, addressing each point (valid or invalid) raised by the adjuster. Request a new settlement, or maintain your initial demand. It is best to wait for the claims adjuster to discuss your counterpoints in his response letter.
4. Do Not Lower Your Settlement Demand More Than Once
Do not lower your settlement amount more than once until the claims adjuster increases his original offer. That’s right, increases; this is a negotiation.
What happens if you continue to lower your settlement demand, and the adjuster maintains their original offer? They may view your claim as weak, and you appear not to know what you’re doing.
They will stand by their low offer you until you surrender.
5. Negotiation – Gradually Decrease Your Settlement
Once the negotiation process has begun, it would be foolish to lower your claim to any random settlement figure blindly.
There’s a good chance the adjuster won’t accept your original offer. Reduce your initial settlement demand by small increments.
A good range would be between 10 to 20% of your original demand; this is a significant reduction to show you’re willing to negotiate. If the claims adjuster accepts this figure, you won’t have lost too much money.
Decide What is Fair For You
Ultimately, it’s your decision. Never allow the auto insurance adjuster to bully you into accepting a low settlement figure.
If you’re not confident you can do this alone, consider hiring a reasonable auto accident attorney. They can guide you through the process and do the heavy lifting for you.
An auto insurance adjuster’s primary focus is on justifying the insurance settlement amount. Hence, by providing them with the correct documentation to prove your claim will make the settlement process smoother. It will also go a long way to getting you the auto accident compensation you want.
Use our 5 tips to negotiate a settlement with an auto insurance adjuster to fight for what’s yours.