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What to Do if You Get a Bad Settlement Offer
Getting a bad settlement offer from your insurance company after you lodged a claim is disappointing. Many people think they have no choice but to accept it. On the contrary, you do have a choice. Settlement offers can be negotiated and you don’t have to accept the first offer you receive.
If you believe the settlement offer is too low and won’t cover you for the loss you suffered, don’t agree to it. Contact a public adjuster to give you a second opinion.
How to Negotiate a Settlement With an Insurance Claims Adjuster
Managing an insurance claim and dealing with an adjuster appointed by your insurance company can be tricky if you’re inexperienced.
Tips on how to negotiate a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster:
#1. Be prepared
Make sure you’re familiar with your coverage limits, deductible, and any coverage requirements. If you’re not prepared, you’re at a serious disadvantage.
#2. Remember the adjuster is paid for by your insurance company
An adjuster appointed by your insurance company will always try to save money for the company. It’s not their job to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
#3. Get everything in writing
It’s always advisable to get everything you discussed with an adjuster or your insurance company in writing. And, don’t wait for them. Send them an email to confirm what was discussed and agreed upon after any verbal discussion.
#4. Always be polite and act professional
Negotiations are seldom successful when one party is rude or arrogant. Even if you don’t agree with an adjuster, remain calm and polite.
#5. Ask questions
If you don’t understand anything, ask for an explanation. If you get a bad settlement offer, ask for a breakdown on how it was calculated.
#6. Don’t feel obliged to accept the first offer
Many insurance companies will encourage you or even put pressure on you to accept their first offer. If you feel you’re getting a lowball settlement offer from your insurance company, don’t accept it.
#7. If you don’t agree with anything, motivate why you don’t agree
Simply saying “I don’t agree” or “the offer is too low” won’t help. You have to give reasons to motivate your argument. The reasons you provide shouldn’t just be based on your personal opinion. You need to be able to back them up with evidence.
#8. Don’t unilaterally stop the negotiation process
The claim process for many claims, such as water damage, can be frustrating and involve a lot of back-and-forth negotiations. Many people are tempted to simply decline a bad settlement offer from their insurance company. You don’t have to accept a bad offer but don’t just decline it.
If you decline an offer then it no longer exists. You cannot accept the offer once you’ve refused it or once it has been withdrawn. You don’t know if you will get another offer. Instead of declining the offer, ask your insurance company how they calculated it or let them know you would like to get a second opinion. Always negotiate in good faith and keep the door open.
#9. If you’re out of your depth, get professional help
Not everyone has the time, experience, or negotiation skills to reach an amicable agreement with their insurance company. Making use of the services of a public adjuster can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration!
A public adjuster looks after YOUR interests and will be able to deal directly with your insurance company’s adjuster.
Note: Avner Gat covers many service areas in Los Angeles. If you’re based in the LA metro area and have received a bad settlement offer from your insurance company, call us on (818) 917-5256 for a free consultation.
Best Way to Avoid Getting a Bad Settlement Offer
The best way to avoid getting a bad settlement offer is to contact a public adjuster before you start the claim process on your own. Don’t wait until you get a bad settlement offer and only then approach a public adjuster to help you.
Consider the analogy of a court case. You won’t go to court to fight a case without an attorney when the other party has an attorney, and only hire one once you’re not happy with the verdict.
Your insurance company deals with claims on a daily basis and uses professional adjusters that are experts in their field. They want to pay you the bare minimum they can get away with. That’s if they even accept your claim.
As in a court case, you’re welcome to represent yourself and manage the claim on your own. However, you are at a disadvantage when you’re negotiating with seasoned professionals.
If it’s a small or insignificant claim, by all means feel free to manage the process on your own. But if it’s a large or potentially complex claim, it makes sense to work with a public adjuster from the very beginning. Don’t wait for things to go south before you do.
Many people get a bad settlement offer when they file an insurance claim, and often don’t even realize it’s a bad offer. Some are under the impression that they have to accept the offer and don’t know that it’s open for negotiation.
As we have shown, a settlement offer isn’t a take-it-or-leave-it offer. It can be negotiated, and you don’t have to accept the first offer you receive if it’s a bad settlement offer.
We all like to think our insurance company has our best interests at heart and will offer us the best possible deal they can. The fact of the matter is they are there to make money, they’re not running a charity. They want to make the best possible deal for THEM, not for you.
As covered in this article, there are things you can do that will help you to negotiate a settlement offer with an insurance claims adjuster. However, you’re always at a disadvantage when you’re dealing with anything that falls outside your area of expertise. Insurance isn’t an exception.
If you get a bad settlement offer, it’s a smart idea to approach a public adjuster that, contrary to your insurance company, looks after YOUR best interests. The only thing that’s even better than that is to approach a public adjuster before you begin the claim process.
Avner Gat has over 15 years of experience as a public adjuster in California. We have helped countless clients get the best settlement offer they could from their insurance company, and we want to help you too.
Call us today for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.