The other guy’s insurance company is not on your side. Learn deceptive tricks they’ll try (and what to do about them) to pay you as little as possible.
You were just hurt in a stressful auto accident by a reckless driver. Parked at a stoplight, you got rear-ended.
You have absolutely no fault, and the other person’s 100% responsible. In a fair world, you’d think everything from here on would be simple.
But not so fast. You remember the golden rule, right? “He who has the gold makes the rules.”
That’s not how that saying’s supposed to go. But that’s how it often plays out in reality.
Since insurance companies have the money (gold) and power, they exercise extensive influence over the process of compensating you. And since their goal is to maximize profit, guess whose side they’re going to take during the compensation and settlement process?
They’ll use these 2 sneaky, dirty, and downright no-good tactics to minimize your payout:
- They Try to Settle Your Claim as Fast as Possible
So let’s say you contact the other driver’s insurance company and explain the situation. It’s clear they’re at fault, and you have a police report backing up your position.
You will get a call literally the next day from the other drivers’ claims adjuster. They’ll offer you a settlement amount on the spot. You can agree right then and there, and you can even go to the company and pick your check up in the next 2-3 days, after they talk to their driver.
Whoa! Now that’s fast customer service. It’s funny how quickly things happen when the insurance company stands to benefit.
Why are they so eager to help you?
Well, in Texas you have a 2-year statute of limitations on personal and property damage for personal injury accidents like these. So, the insurance company knows that if you are seriously injured, you could have thousands of dollars in medical expenses for years to come. But, if you settle the claim now, they only have to pay for any medical expenses through the date you sign their form, agreeing to settle the claim. That minimizes their payout (and maximizes their profit) if you agree to close out the claim now.
And they know if they dangle a lump sum of money in front of you and can get it to you fast, you’re more likely to act irrationally and accept less than you legally deserve.
- Insurance Claims Adjustors Are Eerily Nice to You
Wouldn’t it be great if you could call your insurance company and get this good of service all the time?
Why are they so concerned with the harm you’ve experienced, and so friendly and nice? They’re not treating you like a number, routing you through an endless phone maze, like they normally would if you called any other time.
Don’t fall for it! It’s all an act.
First, they’re being nice and friendly because they want you to cooperate with their agenda of minimizing their payout. They know that if they’re nice and appear to be on your side, you’re more likely to go through their process, thinking you’re getting a good deal. Second, they’re hoping you’ll reveal details in your recorded conversations that they can use to reduce what they pay you.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Before You Talk to an Insurance Claims Adjuster
One exception to this rule is that some cases have such low settlement values that it makes no sense to spend weeks or months going through legal processes just to get a few hundred dollars more. But, you can still call a personal injury lawyer to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
The important thing to remember is you have 2 years to settle your claim and have no obligation whatsoever to do what the insurance company asks (they’ll make it seem like you have 1-2 weeks). You can speak to a Dallas personal injury lawyer at any time, and it’s wise to do so before you talk to the insurance company.