You’ve paid your premiums on time, and now it is time to make a claim under the terms of your insurance policy. The insurance company agrees to pay your claim, but the amount they are offering appears to be too low. So, how are you supposed to know if the offer is for the right amount or not enough? And what are some tactics used by insurance companies to underpay insurance claims? One of our Miami insurance law attorneys at Ver Ploeg & Marino explains.
How To Know If the Insurance Companies Offer Is Too Low
There are ways you can determine if the offer from the insurance company is lower than it should be. You should:
Understand Your Policy
This one may seem pretty basic, but it helps to know the actual terms of your policy. If you cannot locate your copy, ask the insurance company for one and familiarize yourself with its terms. In particular, look at the limits that your policy states. By knowing what your policy says, you will know what it is possible to receive under its terms.
If you were involved in an accident, keep in mind that fault may also play a role in how much you are able to recover.
Speak With Knowledgeable Miami Insurance Law Attorneys
State law also influences how much the insurance company will offer as a claim settlement. When you feel the offer is too low, speaking with one of the Miami insurance law attorneys at Ver Ploeg & Marino will help you understand the amount you are entitled to receive and if the insurance company is intentionally lowballing you.
Ask for Calculations Used
Ask the insurance company how they came up with the amount they are offering. They should be able to provide you with a breakdown of how they calculated their offer amount. If they cannot, it is likely their offer is a random low number they are hoping you will agree to accept.
Obtain Independent Estimates
Do not rely on any estimate provided by the insurance company. Remember, their goal is to settle your claim for as little as possible. If the claim is for damage to your house or car, be sure to obtain estimates from reputable companies that are not associated with the insurance company.
Keep all Documentation
Documentation is key in determining whether or not the insurance company’s settlement offer is justified. If your claim is for damage to your home or vehicle, take pictures of the damage and save copies of all estimates for work. If there is a police report of the accident that caused your damages, be sure and keep a copy of that.
If your claim is for injuries you have sustained, keep copies of all medical records, doctor’s notes, and medications. If you will require future costs for treatment, make sure you have that documented as well.
Totaling all your costs and expenses is a great way to determine if the offer from the insurance company is adequate.
Tactics Used By Insurance Companies to Underpay Insurance Claims
There are tactics insurance companies utilize to underpay valid insurance claims. Following are some of the most common.
- Fast Settlement Offer: In an effort to get you to settle the claim for as little as possible, the insurance company may offer you a settlement fairly quickly after you file your claim. This is done in hopes that you will jump at the money and not take the time to consider the amount you are really owed. They are also hopeful you will not take the time to speak with one of our Miami insurance law attorneys.
- Pressure to Accept the Offer: The insurance company knows that the longer you take to consider their low offer the less likely you are to accept it. Because of that, they will apply pressure so that you accept the offer quickly.
- Won’t Explain How The Offer Was Calculated: The insurance company should be able to provide you with a detailed explanation of how they reached the amount they are offering. If they are unable or unwilling to share that information, it is likely they are not offering what the claim is actually worth. While economic damages, such as those sustained by your home or car, are easy to prove, non-economic damages are not. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Evidence is Ignored: When an insurance company is pushing a low offer, they often ignore or reject the evidence of what the claim is actually worth. Their main tactic is to ignore any evidence that proves the accident was not your fault, so they are able to pay you less.
- Damages Are Questioned: The fewer damages, the less the insurance company has to pay. This is true if we are speaking of damages to a physical object, such as home, or injuries sustained by a person. Because of this, the insurance company will often try to downplay damages and injuries so that they are able to pay less. To prevent this from happening, gather as much proof as possible.
- Communication Ceases: You’ve suffered a loss and you need money for bills. The insurance company knows this and when you refuse their lowball offer, they may shut down communication with you in hopes that you will get nervous and change your mind. This is a devious tactic and one you should be especially wary of.
Talk With One of the Miami Insurance Law Attorneys at Ver Ploeg & Marino Today
If you feel the offer made by your insurance carrier to pay your claim is too low, or if you have already accepted an offer that you now know was too low, the Miami insurance law attorneys at Ver Ploeg & Marino are here to help. Reach out to us via our contact page so that we may schedule a time to sit down and discuss your claim.Share