3 Tips and Tricks Your Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know
If you’ve been involved in a car wreck and your vehicle is totaled, the insurance company of the person at fault owes you money. When the insurer offers you a settlement, there are some important things to be aware of to receive all the money you’re entitled to. Here are three tips and tricks the insurance company doesn’t want you to know.
1. The Settlement Amount Includes Taxes and Fees
Your insurance company has to pay you your car’s actual cash value (ACV). The ACV is the car’s market value, considering the mileage and condition of the car before it was totaled. To determine the amount of your ACV, your insurer will research the market value of your car and compare it to automobiles that are for sale in your state/ area.
For instance, suppose your insurance company offers you $10,000 to total your car. In addition, you research cars in your local market and find that your car sells for close to this amount. In that case, you may be tempted to accept the insurance company’s offer.
However, the insurer owes you an additional $400. Although your car’s ACV is $10,000, the insurance company unfairly assessed your vehicle to be worth $9,600. The insurer included the sales tax in their settlement offer, so if the market value of your vehicle is $10,000, you should be owed this amount plus 4% sales tax (if you live in one of the states where the tax is about 4%), so your payment should be $10,400.
2. Regulations Require Payment for Undisputed Claims
If your personal injury claim is undisputed, the insurance company must pay you. You shouldn’t be prohibited from getting future settlement funds under your policy.
According to state and federal regulations, every insurance company should immediately pay the claim amount (usually within 30 days). When the insurer is presenting an offer to you, the company is admitting that it owes you, at the very least, the valuation amount of your claim.
The company should pay any amount that is not in dispute to you as soon as possible. If you don’t agree with the estimate given to you by the claims adjuster, you should notify the insurance company right away. Tell the insurer to send you the undisputed amount right away before further challenging the valuation.
3. You Can Challenge Your Settlement Amount
According to an Alexandria car accident lawyer, you can challenge the amount if you dispute the total loss value that your insurance company presents. Insurers will often ask you to provide evidence to support the reason(s) you disagree with the settlement amount. The insurance company will go over the documents you send to ensure they are accurate and applicable to your total loss. If you still dispute the amount, you’ll have to adhere to the laws of your state in terms of your insurance policy to see how an appraisal will resolve the disagreement.
If you don’t agree with the insurer’s valuation, you have the right to ask a third party to assess the value of your vehicle. According to the law, both the plaintiff and defendant should hire an appraiser.
Your insurer will assign an appraiser to evaluate your vehicle during the appraisal process. If you don’t hire a private appraiser, the insurer will pay you the amount they see fit. This means you’ll be stuck with the offer from the insurance company if you don’t hire someone to ensure that the amount is accurate. If you leave your settlement amount to the insurance company, you’ll likely get less than you deserve.
You Should Always Get Legal Help Before Dealing with Insurance Companies
If you get into an accident in your state, you should seek help from a local car accident lawyer to help you get the settlement you’re entitled to. Your attorney will walk you through each part of filing a personal injury claim and represent you whether you decide to take your case before a judge or settle out of court. In addition, it is best to have a lawyer on your side when negotiating with insurance companies so you won’t receive a settlement that is lower than what you deserve. So schedule your consultation as soon as possible after the accident.
As a journalist, Leland D. Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. His greatest
satisfaction is to convey legal matters to the public in a language that they can understand.
He is active on various platforms and media outlets, writing about common legal issues that
people confront with every day. While medical malpractice is his strong suit, Leland covers
plenty of other topics, including personal injury cases, family law, and other civil and even
criminal legal matters.