Your insurance company will play a vital role in case you are involved in an accident. You should know how to deal with the insurance companies. Remember your insurance company is not your friend. Their goal is to maximize their profits, not paying you compensation for your injuries.
Here are some dos and don’t on dealing with the insurance company:
- Call your insurance company immediately if you have been involved in an accident. You should make this call as soon as you can. Most insurance companies provide a 24 hour toll free helpline number that you can call to report an accident. Your insurance policy may have a clause that requires you to notify the insurance company of any accident within a specific period of time. If you do not inform your insurance company within this specific period of time, you will lose your right to make the claim.
- Read and understand your insurance policy. Pay specific attention to what is covered and what is excluded in your insurance policy.
- Keep a record of all correspondence and communications exchanged with the insurance company. You may have to deal with many employees at different levels. Make a note of their name and job title.
- Check if you are covered for your injuries and/or damage under other insurance policies. You may be covered under multiple policies. For example, your credit card may provide you with insurance coverage in case of an accident.
- Document your injuries and the damage. Take photos of the accident scene.
- Be honest. Do not conceal anything when dealing with your insurance company. If you provide any false information or withhold information, you will be giving the insurance company an opportunity to deny your claim.
- Understand the benefits of your policy. If your policy allows replacement coverage, you don’t have to settle for the actual cash value.
- Document your expenses. Maintain the receipts of any expense you may have incurred while pursing your claim from the time of the accident until your claim is settled by your insurance company.
- Never provide your insurance company with a written or recorded statement unless you understand your insurance coverage. Do not agree to let them record your telephone conversations with them. If the insurance company is compelling you to provide a written or recorded statement, speak to a lawyer.
- Never accept the first offer the insurance company makes. Their goal is to settle your claim for the least possible amount if they cannot deny it. Often the offer they make will be less than what you are actually entitled to under your policy.
- Never sign any waiver or release unless you understand what you are doing. Always speak to a lawyer before signing any document provided to you by the insurance company. Make sure you read them carefully, including the fine print. Once you sign a waiver or release, you will be allowing the insurance company to do what it wants.
- Never accept a check that says final payment unless the amount on the check is what you are claiming.
- Never delay reporting the accident to the insurance company or making your claim. Most insurance companies have a specific time period within which you must report the accident and make your claim. Once the time period expires, you will loose your right to make the claim.
- Never think the insurance company can pay you whatever it likes and can get away. You can sue the insurance company in court if it refuses to pay what you believe you rightly deserve under the terms of your insurance policy.