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How to handle insurance companies after a car crash

Many people do not realize that their insurance companies are not really on their side. They are a for-profit business that wants to pay as little as possible. You should report when you have been in an accident but how you handle interactions with them could affect you later. Here are some important tips for dealing with insurers:

1. Never accept the first offer immediately.

If you are facing large medical and repair bills for injuries and damages, it is understandable that you want to receive coverage quickly. However, getting desperate may make you settle for a much lower payment than you deserve or need.

Until you have discussed your situation with a lawyer to learn what coverage you deserve and how to negotiate the offer, you should not accept an insurer's payment. Once you accept it, you cannot get further coverage for that accident.

2. Do not make statements about fault or injury.

Your insurer may ask you a lot of questions about who contributed to the accident or how you think it happened. Admitting to fault in the crash could be used against you to significantly reduce your claim. After an accident, make sure you contact police and have a report filed. When your insurer asks about fault, you can kindly ask them to request the police report for information about the crash.

They may also ask about injuries and how you are feeling. Most injuries do not appear for a few days or weeks, so the most information you should give is that you are checking in with a doctor and seeing what treatment is needed. You do not need to discuss injury claims until later in the process.

It is possible the other driver's insurance company could contact you about this information. If they do, make sure they are not recording your conversation and do not admit to any fault or discuss the nature of your injuries.

3. Do not give more information than needed.

Remember: insurance companies are looking for any bits of info that could reduce your claim. Do not be dishonest about questions but do not keep talking on and on about tiny details either. Keep your answers simple.

When insurers question you, a lawyer may be able to speak on your behalf. They will also help you navigate the claims process, which can get quite complex. It is always advisable to seek an attorney after a car accident, especially when seeking insurance coverage.

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