If you have been in a car accident, make sure you understand the tricks of insurance companies in automobile accident cases. Because it is the business of insurance companies to make money, they do their best to deny or reduce the amount of claims against them. Whether you are making a claim against your own insurance or someone else’s insurance, pay attention to these tactics they will use against you.
The first thing any insurance company does is look to deny a claim because of who is at fault. If your own insurance company thinks you are at fault, they can save the cost of your deductible, depending on the policy you have. If it is the other person’s company saying you are at fault, they are trying to get out of the claim altogether. Be sure you understand the driving laws in your state and that anything the insurance company says against you has to be backed up by solid evidence. If the insurance company does not have good evidence against you, fight back with your own evidence and arguments. If you run into trouble over who is at fault for the accident, consider talking to an attorney about your case.
Garaging is an issue that insurance companies bring up against their own policyholders. If the car was in an accident out of state or far from home, insurance companies will sometimes try to say that you lied about where you keep your car and then deny the claim. If this happens to you and you know the insurance company has no solid evidence against you, be sure to get the help of a lawyer. In some states, when the insurance company has denied your claim unfairly, you can collect three times your initial claim amount. The insurance company will put up a fight and an attorney will help you fight back.
Total Loss Settlements
Total loss settlements often cause disputes between car owners and insurance companies. To save money, insurance companies will always try to offer less than your car is worth. To fight this, you will need to do your own “market survey” where you look around for cars of the same year, make, model and mileage as your car. Try to find three cars like your own and take an average of the asking price for the three. You should do everything you can to get the full value of your car. Seek the advice of an attorney if the insurance company still tries to offer less than the price your market survey shows.
While you are fighting with the insurance company over the total loss settlement, many companies will cut off payments for your rental car, saying they made a reasonable effort to settle with you and you are just being stubborn. Make sure you document every phone conversation, letter, email or fax between you and the insurance company so you can show you did not delay the settlement process. If the company still insists on cutting off your rental car, seek the advice of an experience accident attorney.