When you’re involved in an accident, the insurance company will send a claims adjuster to investigate and determine how much they should pay. Then, they’ll present their findings to the insurance company.
It’s important to remember that the claims adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. Don’t let that scare you or prevent you from standing your ground. As an accident survivor, you must remain firm and assert your right to receive compensation for your damages. Here’s a closer look at the job of claims adjusters, so you can learn how to speak to them.
What Is an Insurance Adjuster?
An insurance claims adjuster is a representative of an insurance company. Most cases involve adjusters that work for the insurance company, but policyholders can also have an adjuster work for them. Insurance adjusters have several duties, including:
- Investigating Insurance Claims: Their primary job is to determine whether or not an insurance claim is valid. Investigations involve speaking to the policyholder and gathering evidence.
- Determining Payable Expenses: Once they have determined the validity of a claim, they’ll then evaluate how much the insurance company should pay. Again, they take different factors into account, including what type of insurance coverage you have and the extent of damages.
- Negotiating Settlements: In some cases, insurance adjusters will negotiate settlements between the insurance company and the policyholder. They usually conduct these negotiations in cases where there is a dispute over the number of damages or if the insurance company does not want to pay the full amount.
- Examining Police Reports: In a dispute regarding a personal injury accident, adjusters will examine police reports. This is a continuing investigation because these reports can contain important information, such as who was truly at fault for the accident.
- Interviewing Witnesses: Adjusters will also interview any witnesses of the accident to help them better understand what happened and how it may have impacted the insurance claim.
- Reviewing Medical Records: Adjusters will also request and review the policyholder’s medical records following their accident. This step is important to determine the full extent of the policyholder’s injuries.
What Does an Insurance Claims Adjuster Look For?
Insurance claims adjusters look for any reason to deny or minimize a claim. Their search for concrete evidence hopes to reduce the amount of money the insurance company has to pay. Insurance companies want to make money, and they do that by collecting premiums and denying or minimizing claims.
For instance, an insurance claims adjuster might try to prove that the policyholder was at fault for a car accident. They can argue that the damage they sustained was not as extensive as the policyholder claims. The claims adjuster looks for substantiating evidence to lessen their boss’s expenses in either case.
What To Say to Your Insurance Claims Adjuster
Here are a few things to keep in mind when speaking with an insurance claims adjuster:
- Be Prepared: Before you talk to the insurance claims adjuster, make sure you’re organized and have all your documentation in order. This preparation includes all relevant documentation that will support your claim, including police reports, medical records, and bills. In addition, consider keeping a claims journal to keep track of your time and files.
- Know What You Want: When you talk to the insurance claims adjuster, be clear about what you’re asking for. Don’t leave it up to them to decide how much money you should receive. Instead, give them a specific number that you feel is fair. Also, be sure to have documents to substantiate your claim for that price.
- Be Polite: It’s important to be polite when talking to the insurance claims adjuster. Even if you’re upset, try to temper your emotions, remain calm, and maintain professionalism. This behavior will help you get what you want in the end.
- Do Not Settle: Once you’ve given the insurance claims adjuster your number, don’t settle for anything less. If they offer you a lower amount, politely decline and reiterate your original offer while highlighting the documents you prepared.
- Hire an Attorney: In some cases, it might be in your best interest to hire an attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the insurance claims process and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Things NOT To Say to Your Insurance Claims Adjuster
Just as there are things you should say to your insurance claims adjuster, there are also a few things you should avoid doing:
- Do Not Apologize: Even if the accident was your fault, don’t say sorry to the insurance claims adjuster. They can use your apology against you later, which can reduce the size of your settlement.
- Do Not Give a Recorded Statement: Insurance companies will likely ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident. It’s in your best interest to avoid doing so because what you say can be used against you later.
- Reject the First Offer: As mentioned earlier, insurance companies want to save money. As such, they’ll likely offer you a lowball settlement. Therefore, it’s important to avoid accepting the first offer and counter with a fair amount or reiterate your initial number.
- Do Not Provide Too Much Information: When talking to the insurance claims adjuster, only provide them with the information they request. Don’t give more information than necessary because it could be used against you later on.
If you’re still uncertain about facing claims adjusters alone, consider getting a seasoned lawyer to represent your best interests. Our personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Perlstein are advocates of personal injury survivors. Feel free to discuss your case today.