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How To Handle An Insurance Settlement Offer

There are many times a person may get the settlement they want from their insurance company. It could happen without going to court and require no negotiating. These are often very simple cases with low settlement amounts. The larger and more complicated the insurance claim, the more chance of needing to negotiate it or go to court to obtain a fair settlement. There are many things to consider when choosing how to handle a settlement offer.

Proper Compensation
When an individual is faced with a settlement offer from an insurance company, there are certain questions they need to ask themselves. Is the amount of compensation sufficient to compensate them for the physical, financial and emotional damage they experienced as a result of the accident? They must consider if their initial, as well as ongoing medical costs, will be covered. They need to know if their lost wages, legal costs as well as property damage and more are sufficiently covered by the settlement offer.

Risk Considerations
A person also needs to look at the benefits and risks associated with the settlement offer. An individual needs to read the settlement agreement carefully and notice if it includes language that will prohibit them from suing the insurance company in the future. Should a person believe they may experience problems related to the accident in the future, this is something that should be a serious consideration.

It’s too common for an individual to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company because they have no desire to negotiate for the settlement they feel they deserve. Some people may lose out on getting fair compensation because they just want to put the incident behind them. The reality of this situation is that an insurance company is prepared and ready to negotiate every settlement offer they make. This means a person can expect the initial settlement offer from the insurance company to be low. When a person is willing to negotiate, they will often end up with their settlement amount increased. Before a person considers negotiating a settlement offer from an insurance company, they should speak with an experienced attorney. They will know what to expect from an insurance company and what is necessary to obtain a fair settlement.

Demand Letter
This is known as the starting point for the insurance negotiation process. This is a letter a policyholder will send to their insurance company outlining a number of things including their injuries, responsibility for the accident, medical costs, losses as well as damages and more. This should close with the settlement amount they believe is fair given the facts of the case. It is important the policyholder emphasize the disruption to their life, inconvenience, discomfort, pain, medical treatments and more. Since the settlement offer from the insurance company will be low, it’s important to have the requested dollar amount be at least 75 percent higher than they expect to be offered.

Authority Of Adjuster
Prior to an adjuster contacting a policyholder, they will determine what they believe the policy holder’s claim is worth. They will have a second dollar amount in their file that represents the extent of their authority of what they can offer. This is the highest amount they are permitted to use to settle a claim. An adjuster will never tell the policyholder the claim amount associated with their authority. When an amount is quoted to a policyholder, it is likely not to be the limit of their authority. Their goal is to have the policyholder believe the dollar amount they’re offering is the best they can do for them and their claim.

Negotiation Process
After sending the demand letter, the policyholder will get a call from an adjuster who works for the insurance company. This is when the negotiations begin. Each side will try to explain the merits of their position on the settlement offer. The goal of the insurance adjuster is to get the policyholder to settle for an amount lower than what was requested by their demand letter. The next step is for a policyholder to make a counter offer. This should be an amount that is higher than what is offered by the insurance adjuster but lower than the amount mentioned in the demand letter. In time, this will often lead to a settlement amount that is acceptable to both the insurance company and the policyholder.

Legal Help
Many policyholders have success when an experienced attorney negotiates on their behalf with an insurance company. They will know what the adjuster is trying to accomplish and how to get around it. They will know there is no pressure on the adjuster to reach a settlement amount. Every day the insurance company has the money, it earns interest. This is known as a float. An attorney will know what is fair for a claim. They will know how to get the desired result quickly and in writing.

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