December 18, 2017

When your insurance adjuster estimate is too low

If you’ve filed a claim with your insurance company as the result of taking on some sort of damage or injury, it’s not hard to see why you might need the money that your insurance company owes you as soon as possible. If your car was totaled and you can’t get to work, if you’ve been severely injured and are physically unable to work, if you have bills and tickets to pay, or any other number of reasons, finding yourself in this situation can be expensive.

So, if after submitting all the necessary documentation and communicating with doctors and mechanics and your insurance company and biding your time you find your insurance adjuster estimate is too low to either cover all your expenses or is just not reasonable, you may be thinking of your next steps. So what do you do when your insurance adjuster estimate is too low?

Why your settlement might be low

If you disagree with the insurance adjuster, there are steps that you can take. Assuming you’re utilizing the insurance company’s staff or independent adjuster, keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for your adjuster to estimate your damages as far below what they actually are. Any settlement they pay you is money out of their pockets, and insurance companies are in the business of making money.

If your proposed settlement amount is questionable, or you’re not able to make the decision at the moment, don’t do anything. Don’t sign any paperwork, or even agree verbally that you will accept the amount. In the case where you need to bring in an attorney, you want to be sure that your insurance company’s documentation is clear of any hint that you accepted the proposal.

Can you negotiate with insurance adjusters?

Therefore, the first step is to negotiate with your insurance adjusters and the company as a whole. Your initial settlement offer may very well be the start to a haggle, so don’t just accept any number, especially if you believe you’re owed more. Your insurance company may encourage you to accept and unjust sum by saying that the offer is only valid for a limited amount of time, or something to that nature. This is incorrect. Take some time to decide whether or not the number you were offered is reasonable.

Another route is speaking directly with the adjuster who has been assessing your damage. You might request they return and give the damage another look, and you may take this opportunity to point out specific damages that they either didn’t assess previously, or they understated.

If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating on your own, it may be time to bring it your own public adjuster. Though they may have a difficult time introducing new information to the claim’s documentation, they can suggest a larger sum on your behalf; if they can provide proof of this damage, the conversation may be smoother than you haggling for yourself. Having a professional who “speaks insurance” and is also on your side can be a great help.

If you’re still not happy

If your insurance company is working its angles to screw you out of the settlement that you deserve, start looking for legal representation. Many times, insurance companies won’t take you seriously unless you take yourself seriously, which means having a lawyer by your side.

If you’ve been offered an unjust insurance settlement, contact Corless Barfield for a free consultation. It’s time to stop letting your insurance company get away with not paying what they owe you.