If you thought about it for a few seconds, you could probably rattle off the jingle or slogan for at least three major motor vehicle insurance companies. Insurance companies spend millions of dollars annually trying to make themselves seem friendly, helpful and reliable. They tell you that they will take care of you like a neighbor or that they pay all claims within only a few days.
All of that advertising might lull you into a false sense of security after a car crash. You expect that the company that insures the driver who caused the crash will reasonably compensate you for your medical costs and property damage.
Unfortunately, your perception of the insurance company could make it a lot easier for them to take advantage of you. There are some things about big insurance claims that most companies don’t want you to know.
They will almost never give you what your vehicle is worth
You may have a classic car that you love or just a late model import that you keep in pristine condition. Maybe you have had to make disability accommodations to your vehicle, which could mean tens of thousands of dollars in personal investment.
When an insurance company has to pay out property damage on a crash, they are going to try to drastically reduce the claimable value for your vehicle. They might nitpick cosmetic issues as a way to drive down the price or even use questionable depreciation formulas on a vehicle that is only a few years old. You have to be ready to negotiate, especially if there isn’t much property damage coverage on the policy.
When there are big medical costs, they will try to get you to settle
Insurance settlement sounds like a win for the claimants. It seems like they get a check up front without needing to submit multiple receipts in claims for reimbursement all the time.
The bills coming in after a crash can easily overwhelm you, and if your injuries keep you from working, you may not know when you will regain control of your finances. Insurance companies try to capitalize on that concern by making low-ball settlement offers. Those in need of income may not look at the possibility of future expenses and could settle for far less than they need.
They will try to back you in a corner when recording a statement
Anything from apologizing to using the wrong kind of language to describe your actions before the crash might help the insurance company reduce how much you can claim. If they can somehow get you to admit partial fault during a recorded interview, even when the other driver was clearly responsible, they can limit the compensation you get.
Getting professional help when dealing with an insurance company may be the best way to protect your own interests during a claim after a crash.