How to Take Advantage of Your Insurance After a Car Accident

Few people pay attention to their car insurance; that is, until after being in an accident. Even fewer people know what to do after being in a car crash. If there’s a good time to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, it’s when we get behind the wheel of our cars. 

Your insurance adjuster is one of the first people you’ll be talking to after an accident. Before you are ever the victim of an unfortunate accident, it’s best to know now how to handle and deal with the insurance company, and how to use your insurance to your favor. Here are some pointers to help you.

Inform The Company Immediately

What typically happens is that insurance companies raise the premiums of people who have been in an accident. Because of that, a lot of people don’t report accidents they’ve been in. People who don’t report an accident can find themselves in trouble if the other party decides to sue them. When your carrier has no idea you were in an accident, they may refuse to follow through with your policy. This only means one thing; you’ll be picking up all the bills. 

If the accident wasn’t your fault, your driving record is clear of moving-violations, and you haven’t been in an accident before, the company could decide not to raise your monthly premium. Even if the accident is minor, report it and don’t give the insurance company an opportunity to dishonor your policy.

Don’t Give Documented Statements

Reporting an accident isn’t the same as making an official statement. A report just gives the basic information; contact information, location, etc.  However, you are not obliged to give a statement to insurance adjusters. Giving a statement can ruin your chances of receiving fair compensation, considering that you may give an inaccurate statement. Legal experts in Oakland, CA explain that after being in an auto accident, the insurance company may pressure you for a statement. If you feel this is what is happening, contact a car accident or personal injury lawyer. They are used to dealing with insurance companies and know exactly what you should say and do and what you shouldn’t for your benefit.

Accident Forgiveness

There are several stipulations in your insurance policy, so you want to check if your policy offers accident forgiveness. This stipulation is provided if you were the one at fault and may allow you to keep your premium from rising. The best candidates to receive accident forgiveness are those who have a clean driving record and have just had their first accident.   

Don’t Accept The First Compensation Estimate

You have insurance so that you can receive compensation for your losses after an accident. If you’ve been injured, you will need medical treatment immediately, and maybe in the future. You may even put out of work, so you need to receive compensation for lost wages and vehicle repair. You may, however, find your compensation estimate shockingly low.

There are a lot of things that you are entitled to be compensated for, per your policy agreement. An insurance company may downplay injuries and damages and give you minimal compensation. This is common practice. Your best way of fighting this is to get a lawyer to represent you. A lawyer works in your best interest and can get you maximum compensation, so don’t settle for the first sum the insurance company throws your way. Don’t take anything that indicates a final payment settlement.

 

Be Prepared

Make sure you have all the evidence of your accident; witness statements, medical reports, medical bills, out-of-pocket expense receipts, and all other factors at hand when talking to an insurance company. When they call you, be assured that they are prepared and you must be as well. 

Be organized with your files and also listen carefully to what the company tells you — jot down notes. Let them finish what they have to say without interrupting them, even if they’re saying something that is not to your liking or approval. If you contact the company, take a look at your pre-prepared file before you do and make sure everything is arranged in an organized fashion so that you know exactly what to say. Eventually, all the information about your accident is going to go to the adjuster for evaluation, so make sure everything in your file is accurate.   

Considering car accident statistics, there’s a high chance of being involved in one. You will be better off trusting a lawyer to help you deal with an insurance company. There’s a lot of legal jargon and premises that are used that you are likely unfamiliar with. The important thing is to take advantage of the insurance you pay for and stay savvy and informed about how insurance works.