The best way to protect yourself as a driver is to know all the dirty tricks car insurance companies use to squeeze as much money from customers as possible. When you know what to watch out for, you can avoid paying too much for premiums, get the right coverage for your needs, and receive the payout you deserve if you have a car accident and need repairs and medical treatment. So check out these dirty tricks insurance agencies use, and prevent problems before an auto accident occurs!
Insisting You Use a Specific Repair Shop
Some insurance companies may insist you use a repair shop they select, but you have the right to use whichever mechanic or shop you want to fix damage to your car. For example, you want to use D-1 Auto Body because they have an expert service team and an excellent reputation, not a shop that does low-quality work.
In most instances, the insurance company uses these repair shops to save on the property damage payout on your claim because they provide a lowball offer to fix your vehicle. But, unfortunately, using an "insurance-approved" shop often leads to poor-quality parts and work that only give you more headaches.
Denying or Delaying Your Claim
Auto insurance companies and insurance adjusters, even the most well-known brands, love to delay your payout or even deny your claim in hopes you will give up and walk away from your rightful settlement. Many also hope the hassle of hiring a law firm and battling them in court will be too expensive and time-consuming in an already stressful time.
Outright denying a claim is another tactic insurance companies use, especially if they know you do not have a lawyer adept with personal injury laws. Many companies will make a recorded statement and use your words against you, claiming you were the at-fault driver so they can deny your claim. Don't ever admit fault when speaking to your insurance company, even if you think you did cause the accident. Instead, let the police accidents report and insurance adjusters find the blame.
Remember to stand your ground and not be in a rush to take their first settlement offer or accept a denial, especially if you have an injury claim on top of car repairs. Instead, make an appointment for a free consultation with a reputable personal injury attorney and bring any related medical records. Statistics show that settlements are around 40 percent higher with a lawyer handling your insurance claim.
Pushing for a Quick Settlement
Law offices warn that many driver insurers will pretend to be on your side and quickly offer a settlement figure in hopes you will sign off on it, saving them a bundle. These offers will never be what you deserve but may entice you because you want to take care of your car situation as soon as possible. However, CNN found Allstate training manuals contain a section that tells agents to push for small walk-away settlements. Unfortunately, agreeing will leave you helpless to get additional money if, later on, you have a related injury or hidden damage that still needs attention.
Discouraging Medical Treatment
Insurance company payouts for medical treatment can quickly reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it's worth it for them to try to keep customers from seeking the proper medical care or to direct you to visit "their" doctor.
Dealing with car accidents that include wrongful deaths or serious injury should involve a lawyer to protect you and ensure you get all the ongoing medical treatment you need immediately and even many years later. The attorney-client relationship will allow you to freely discuss your needs and medical records, so they can move forward to get you the largest settlement to take care of your injuries.
Settling Insurance Claims Fairly
After an accident, most people want things to return to normal as quickly as possible, but don't fall victim to car insurance companies' dirty tricks. Hire a lawyer to ensure you don’t get pushed around and get the maximum possible settlement from the insurance company.
In addition, if you are in an accident and your vehicle needs repairs, call a trustworthy auto repair shop that uses only OEM parts and not cheap aftermarket parts. Doing so will get you the highest-quality parts, so your car not only looks new but lasts for years.