Negotiating with insurance adjusters requires unique skills

This article looks at how negotiating tactics used by claims adjusters put claimants at a disadvantage.

Auto insurance is supposed to provide peace of mind for drivers if and when they are involved in a collision. A car accident can take a serious financial toll, with the cost of both replacing or repairing the vehicle along with any medical bills or lost wages presenting significant burdens for many accident victims. However, while insurance is supposed to lessen that burden, when it comes to actually negotiating a settlement with their insurer's claims adjusters many accident victims find the process to be frustrating and difficult.

Understanding the adjuster's role

Claims adjusters are highly skilled negotiators and many try to pass themselves off as having the best interests of the claimant at heart. However, at the end of the day the adjuster's job is to settle a claim for the insurer for as low as possible. An adjuster who is in the habit of agreeing to large settlements would not keep his or her job for long!

That's why it is important to be aware of some of the tricks adjusters often use that may put claimants at a disadvantage. As the Houston Chronicle notes, it is almost a foregone conclusion in settlement negotiations that any initial offer made by the adjuster will be much lower than what the insurer is actually willing to settle for.

Lesser known insurance tricks

However, as Fox Business reports, there are other less well known tricks that adjusters use that can end up leading to a lower settlement than what a claim may be worth. For example, when determining how much a vehicle is worth, insurers compare the vehicle to five comparable vehicles. However, what the insurer deems comparable may be much different than what the car owner deems comparable. For example, the insurer may consider a low-end model vehicle to be comparable to its high-end counterpart, which could lead to an especially low settlement offer.

Additionally, insurers may fail to take into account extras or upgrades that could increase the value of the vehicle, such as leather seating and high-end speakers. Furthermore, many claimants are not aware that it is common practice in all states (and the law in 34) for insurers to offer compensation for the sales tax and fees on written off vehicles.

Leveling the playing field

Of course, most claimants cannot be expected to know when a claims adjuster is treating them fairly and when he or she may be trying to get them to agree to a lowball offer. That's why claimants need somebody on their side who can help level the playing field. A personal injury attorney can assist accident victims with the claims process, including by negotiating aggressively with the insurer to ensure their client receives the compensation they may ultimately be entitled to.