4 Things Car Insurance Companies Do to Fight Car Insurance Claims
When a person purchases an insurance policy, the policy is effectively a paid promise that the insurance company will cover the extent of the policy as long as the policyholder continues to make premium payments on the policy. Insurance companies have a legal obligation to process claims against insurance policies in good faith, meaning they must process them honestly, even if it costs the insurance company money to do so. Insurers make money from policyholders’ premium payments and lose money when they have to pay out on claims.
During the claim approval process, the insurance company will typically assign a claims adjuster to investigate the policyholder’s claim and ensure the claim falls within the stipulations of the policy. Although insurance companies have an obligation to act in good faith, they will still use various methods to pay lower amounts on claims and avoid paying out the full coverage a policy allows. While these methods are technically legal, it’s a good idea to know how insurance companies fight car accident claims in case you need to file a claim for a car accident yourself.
Insurance companies know that the average person doesn’t want to deal with a prolonged battle with an insurance company; they just want their policy payout, so they can move on. Insurance companies rely on impatience to push low-ball offers on insurance claims. For example, a policy may stipulate up to $50,000 in coverage for a particular kind of damage, but the insurance company may attempt to argue that the damage doesn’t warrant the full coverage amount. Many factors can influence the final claim amount, but the insurance company has to be honest about how they reach this determination and provide thorough evidence to support it. If an insurance company responds very quickly to your claim with a lower amount than you expected or than you claimed, they may be hoping you simply take the money and not bother fighting for more.
Although most claims adjusters will not be overtly intimidating toward claimants, some may attempt to insinuate that the claimant must take the insurance company’s first offer to avoid legal complications, fees, or other penalties. It is illegal for a claims adjuster to threaten, harass, or otherwise attempt to coerce a claimant into accepting a settlement offer or claim denial. Anyone who experiences such behavior should contact an attorney immediately.
Insurance companies must process claims in good faith, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take their time doing it. Delays in communication with adjusters, settlement determinations, and other interactions with insurers are common. The simple reason for this is that it is more profitable for an insurance company to prolong a settlement negotiation, so they continue to profit from the policyholder’s premium payments in the interim.
It’s a good idea to assume that an insurance company will record every conversation you have with its employees, whether it is in person or over the phone. It’s important to choose your words carefully when speaking with a claims adjuster. Seemingly innocent phrases like “I’m sorry,” or “that was my fault” may come back to haunt you later. The insurer may choose to interpret these quotes as evidence against you and use them as justification for denying or delaying your settlement. Answer claims adjusters’ questions honestly and concisely.
Some adjusters may attempt to make the conversation awkward by pausing for a long time before responding to you. This is a negotiation tactic that makes people uncomfortable and encourages them to keep talking to break the silence. Provide your answers and wait for a response; don’t let them trick you into rambling.
These are just a few of the tactics some insurance adjusters use to escape paying the full amount on claims. If you have difficulty with an insurance claim or believe that your insurance carrier has acted against you in bad faith, reach out to a reliable Phoenix personal injury attorney with experience in bad faith insurance litigation.
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