When a car accident happens, insurance companies get defensive. They don’t see someone in pain or financial despair – all they see are dollars, cents, and decimal points on their own balance sheets. And if you aren’t careful, you could end up on the wrong side of the equation.
Be Wary of These Tricks and Tactics
Insurance companies have a bag full of tricks and deceitful tactics they aren’t afraid to use. They come bucking out of the gate without delay, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll fall victim to things like:
- They’ll Pretend They’re on Your Side
Insurance companies like to cozy up to victims. Don’t be surprised if the insurance companies involved come to you and try to make it feel like they’re assisting you. They’ll act friendly, kind, and even sympathetic. You’ll swear they “just want to help,” but avoid jumping to that conclusion too quickly.
When an insurance company tries to get on your good side, there’s always an ulterior motive in play. In most cases, they’re trying to gain your trust so they can get you in an even more vulnerable position.
Once the insurance company has you in a vulnerable spot, they’ll try to convince you to represent yourself, rather than hiring a car accident attorney who knows how to properly negotiate with them and challenge them.
- They’ll Coax You Into a Statement
After warming up to you and directly or indirectly dissuading you from hiring an attorney, the insurance company will try to get you to provide a statement. They typically do this using very carefully worded prompts. For example, they’ll tell you that you must immediately make a statement and list off all of your injuries and damages to speed up your settlement, otherwise it could take years to get any money. However, in reality, the goal is to get you to make a quick statement that unintentionally downplays your injuries and confuses facts.
No matter what any insurance adjuster tells you, you don’t have to give them a statement right away. You have every right to speak to an attorney first.
- They’ll Lowball You Right Away
Insurance companies don’t make their money off small monthly premiums that customers pay. They make their money by taking those funds and investing them. They’re essentially big banks. They make their money the same way that everyone else on Wall Street does. And when they’re forced to pay out a large settlement, it takes away some of the ammunition they have to make money – it’s a “double whammy.” (This is why they fight so hard to avoid paying out large sums of money.)
Insurance companies aren’t foolish. They know they’re going to have to pay. But they’d rather pay you a small amount than a large amount – and that’s exactly what they try to do. They’ll begin by presenting you with a very small fraction of what your claim is actually worth. (Usually 10 percent to 40 percent.) However, they won’t tell you that. They’ll pretend like it’s their highest and best.
Never (ever) accept an insurance adjuster’s initial offer. Listen to what they say, tell them you’ll speak with your attorney, and hang up the phone. This is just the starting point. You and your attorney can figure out a negotiation strategy to get the full amount you’re owed.
- They’ll Use High-Pressure Tactics
Don’t be surprised or fazed if the once-friendly insurance adjusters suddenly turn cold and brutal after you turn down their initial offer. It’s at this point that they typically turn on high-pressure tactics and start to play “dirty.” Their goal is to discredit you and downplay your injuries. They’ll attempt to do this in any way they can, including by challenging your personal character, stalking your social media profiles, and even downplaying your injuries.
Adding it All Up
Many car accident victims assume that they’re the exception. Sure, most car insurance companies are evil, but my agent really cares about me. Well, that might be true, but your agent (or the insurance agent attached to the other driver’s policy) has nothing to do with the outcome. They’re just a charismatic face mixed up in the middle of a financial battle that the insurance company has no serious intention of paying.
Give the insurance company an inch and they’ll take a mile. Stay vigilant and avoid being victimized twice. Hire your attorney, fight for your rights, and don’t give up until you get what’s rightfully yours.