To get a car accident insurance claim settlement, a driver needs to negotiate with either their own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. The car insurance company that will pay the settlement amount depends on who was at fault in the accident, the state, and the type of claim being filed.
A car accident insurance claim settlement is the payment that the at-fault driver’s insurance company makes to the other driver after a car accident resulting in injury or vehicle damage. Once a claim has been filed, the insurer will look at all of the information related to the accident and offer a settlement amount.
The average driver only makes an accident claim once every 18 years, so most people don’t have to go through the insurance claim settlement process frequently. But it’s best to be prepared.
Steps to Getting a Car Accident Insurance Claim Settlement
1. File a police report.
This is legally required if there are injuries or significant property damage, but you should always do it because insurance companies often request police reports related to claims.
2. File a claim.
If the other driver is at fault, your claim will go through their insurance company. Your insurance will have to cover the damage if you’re at fault or the other driver is uninsured. If you live in a no-fault state, your insurance company will cover your medical bills after an accident regardless of who is at fault.
3. Give the adjuster all of your documentation.
The insurance company will assign an adjuster to your claim who will be in charge of inspecting the vehicle and evaluating the facts of the accident before coming to you with a settlement amount. Some insurance companies like Allstate use mobile apps to facilitate fast communication with adjusters and make the process run smoothly. But the bottom line is that the more documentation you have, the easier their job is.
4. Negotiate the settlement.
If you’re not satisfied with the initial amount that you’re offered, then you can try to negotiate with the insurance company. If they continue to offer a lower amount than you feel you’re owed, you can file a lawsuit as a last resort.
It’s important to keep in mind that the insurance company is not going to operate with your best interests in mind. They’re going to try to pay as little as they can, and if you’re filing the claim through the other driver’s insurance, they might argue that you were partially at fault or that your documentation isn’t sufficient. Don’t feel like you’re obligated to accept the first settlement that they offer, either, especially if you’ve incurred significant expenses.
As frustrating as the settlement negotiation process can be, there are steps you can take to make it a little bit easier. Document as much as you can, from the damage to your vehicle to your out-of-pocket expenses, to help ensure that you get the fairest settlement possible. And no matter what, stick to your story as you know it to be true. Don’t try to speculate about what might have happened or let the insurance company convince you that something happened when you know it didn’t.
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