Tips for Talking to Insurance After a Wreck
If you recently had a car accident , you have probably already been contacted by several representatives from insurance companies. First, you may have called your vehicle insurer to let them know that you were in an accident. Second, you may have heard from someone calling for the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. It can be confusing and you may not be sure who, if anyone, is looking out for your interests. Especially if you believe another driver caused the accident, you may be concerned about accepting a “settlement” payment from an insurance company, signing documentation, or giving statements about the accident. Here are some tips for talking to insurance after a wreck to help you navigate this difficult time:
1. Get a Copy of Your Insurance Policy.
The first and best place to start is by getting a copy of your vehicle insurance policy. Read the section about accident coverage. Note if there is a limit on your coverage, how you must submit a claim for coverage, and what kind of proof you must provide to support your claim. Determine your deductible and consider whether you have to pay it if the accident was not your fault. Make sure to consult this policy information before having any repairs done to your vehicle, to ensure that any expenses that you incur will be properly reimbursed. Never delay necessary medical care, but make sure that if you receive medical treatment for injuries sustained in a car crash, that you keep copies of the medical records and bills, including pharmacy records and bills.
2. Ask for Copies of All Documentation Regarding the Accident.
Ask your insurance company for a copy of your file which should include:
- Their report of the accident
- Any research they did to determine the amount of coverage you need
- Your statement
- Statements from other drivers
- Repair estimates for other vehicles involved in the crash
- Police reports
- Other documentation.
Remember any statement you give to an insurance company becomes part of the file and used to determine fault for the accident and to what kind of payment your policy entitles you.
3. Carefully Review All Paperwork.
Before signing any documentation from either your insurance company or from the insurance company for another driver, read it carefully and make sure you understand what happens if you sign. Ask for more time to review if you need it. Ask a family member or trusted friend to look at it, too. If you believe you may be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver, it is important that you do not release your ability to sue in exchange for settlement prematurely.
4. Read Our Tips for Talking to Insurance, But Consider Hiring an Attorney.
Insurance companies are not in your corner. At best, they are providing you a service for which you have been paying monthly for years. At worst, they are trying to improve their bottom line by paying you the bare minimum to which you are entitled under your policy. An attorney, however, can serve as your advocate. A qualified and experienced auto accident attorney will be able to analyze your claim and help you negotiate with insurance companies about the amount you need to get back on your feet. Additionally, if you believe another driver was at fault, an attorney can help you file a lawsuit if necessary to recover money damages.
Dealing with insurance companies can be time-consuming and frustrating. Be wary and prepared, and consider talking to an attorney who can guide you through the process to make sure you get a fair result. We encourage you to bookmark these tips for talking to insurance after a wreck and forward to your friends.
Also, see our other articles designed to help you recover from an auto accident:
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their insight into car accident law.