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How do I Communicate With Insurance Agencies to get a Fair Settlement?

We will educate you on your insurance policy, its limits, and potential loopholes;
to help you receive a fair settlement.

The Role of Insurance

Insures policyholders against accidents caused by negligence or recklessness up to the coverage limits of the insurance policy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have rental coverage or rental reimbursement coverage your policy will pay for your rental car or reimburse you.  

The average time that a car is in a repair shop is 10-14 days.  This can be a significant cost that you would have to cover if you don’t have rental coverage.

If the police respond to the accident, they will ask for a copy of each driver’s license, car registration, and insurance information.

If police are not called, you can ask to see an insurance card or ask who their insurance company is. 

If they refuse to provide this information you have a few options.

 You can write down their license plate and name, then report the accident to the police who may be able to track down insurance information.

 Or you can report the accident to your insurer and they may be able to get the insurance information from state databases.

Uninsured Driver Coverage covers expenses and damages incurred on your property and person when the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance. Each policy offers a predetermined amount of uninsured driver coverage. You have the option of increasing the amount included with your insurance plan. 

 

How Does It Work? 

 If an uninsured driver hits you, you can make a claim against your own insurance company for uninsured driver benefits. Your insurance adjuster would then offer a settlement based on your claims, expenses, and amount of coverage. Legal action against an uninsured driver typically won’t result in compensation. People who don’t have car insurance rarely have any money.

Insurance adjusters have no duty to address demands that exceed the policy limits. Regardless of how high your expenses may be, insurance adjusters are unable to go beyond the coverage limits and therefore, ignore such demands. The two ways to receive a settlement for your claim are to make a demand that is equal to or below the policy limit or go to litigation for a settlement above the policy limit.

Most insurance policies include a minimum amount of underinsured driver coverage in their package. As with uninsured driver coverage, you can purchase more.

 

Underinsured driver coverage is for accidents involving a driver whose insurance policy doesn’t provide enough coverage to pay off your expenses. In this case, you would be able to make a claim against your own insurance company, up to the limit of your underinsured driver coverage.

 

For example, the cost of your accident accumulates to $20,000, but the driver that hit you only has a  $10,000 insurance policy limit. You can make an underinsured driver claim against your own insurance for the remaining $10,000, but your claim must be within your own policy limits.

 

If the other driver’s insurance covers your expenses, you cannot make a further claim against your own insurance to receive more money.

In some cases, an injured person’s role in causing an accident — or their inaction after being injured — can diminish the amount of damages available in a personal injury case.

 

Comparative Negligence: If you’re at fault (even partially) for the accident that caused your injuries, the damages award will reflect that. Most states adhere to a “comparative negligence” standard that links damages to the degree of fault in a personal injury case.

 

Contributory Negligence: In the small handful of states that follow the concept of “contributory negligence” for personal injury lawsuits, you may not be able to recover any compensation at all if you’re deemed partially to blame for the accident.

 

Failure to Mitigate Damages: The law in most states expects plaintiffs in personal injury cases to take reasonable steps to minimize or “mitigate” the financial impact of the harm caused by the accident. If an injured plaintiff fails to get necessary medical treatment after an accident and makes their injuries worse by delaying treatment, a damages award might be significantly reduced.

Insurance Policy Overview

Learn more about insurance policies by state and insurance policy limits.

How to Read an Insurance Card

A car insurance card provides proof of protection from substantial monetary loss and ensures compensation if you are injured.  

 

The following information can be found on the front of your insurance card: your policy number, effective coverage dates, contact information for your insurance company, and a list of those insured. However, car insurance follows the vehicle and not the driver, so even if a person isn’t listed as an insured driver of your vehicle, they can still legally drive it with permission. Your vehicle information, such as the VIN number, make, model, and year, can also be found on the front of this document. 

 

Instructions on what to do in an accident and when to present the insurance card can be found on the back. Note the location of this information may vary depending upon the insurance provider.

How to Read Your Insurance Policy

Your policy should have the following information on the declaration page: your policy number, the names of insured drivers, insured vehicles, a list of coverages, limits, deductibles and a detailed list of expenses totaling the premium rate.  This list will show discounts and surcharges from both tickets and claims that affect your premium. Each vehicle will have its own list of expenses and coverage. Generally coverage is represented by numbers written as 50/75/50, meaning $50,000 bodily injury per person, $75,000 per accident and $50,000 property damage.

Types of Insurance Coverage*

Liability insurance is standard car insurance and is mandatory in every U.S. state. Liability insurance insures the policyholder against claims arising from accidents caused by negligence — and (in most states) recklessness — up to the coverage limits of the insurance policy.

This insurance ensures that car crash victims will have access to compensation in a settlement or verdict against a driver causing injury.

 

The terms of the insurance policy require the insurance company to fulfill two duties: defend and pay. 

 

The Duty to Defend: Defend the car owner against any claims concerning accidents. 

 

The Duty to Pay: Pay up to the policy limits for any damages caused by their insured driver. 

 

When a car crash occurs, the insurance company of the driver alleged to be at fault will then assume the defense of their insured driver.

Collision insurance covers damage to your car caused by collision with other objects, regardless of fault. Comprehensive insurance covers damages from the following conditions: theft, fire, falling objects, explosions, earthquakes, severe weather conditions, vandalism, riots, and animal contact. These insurances are usually paired together in order to give the policyholder premium coverage.

Medical payment covers medical treatment for policyholders and passengers. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) varies by state and may cover lost wages and funeral costs as well as medical treatment. The following states require PIP coverage: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Utah. PIP states are also no-fault states meaning personal injuries are covered by your own insurance while the at-fault driver’s insurance covers property damage. 

What Does the Insurance Company for the Responsible Driver Want?

The insurance company for the driver responsible for your accident will first and foremost want to minimize their liability in other words, pay as little as possible. In this regard, they may dispute the evidence regarding accident causation, blame you or others for causing the accident, or seek to delay the litigation process and possible settlement.

 

Insurance companies have internal protocols regarding defense and settlement of car accident cases. Usually, these protocols concern matters such as establishing liability (how clear the plaintiff’s case is in regards to fault) and damages (how severely was the plaintiff injured, and the permanency of those injuries).

 

Before making a settlement, proof regarding liability, pain and suffering (such as medical expenses and procedures) and other damages, must be presented to the insurance company in a timely and structured manner.

What to do after an accident:

If you have been in a severe accident:

  • Stay calm
  • Check the status of any passengers in the vehicle
  • Turn your hazard lights on
  • Call 911 immediately
  • Administer first aid (if applicable, the dispatcher should be able to walk you through basic first aid procedures)
  • If you are able to,  move your vehicle to a safe location. *stay in the vehicle unless it is in danger of exploding or catching fire
  • If you are able, take photographs of the accident and the damages that occurred
  • Seek immediate medical care

If you have been in a minor auto accident:

 

  • Stay calm
  • Check the status of any passengers
  • Turn your hazard lights on
  • Move your car to a safe location
  • Make the decision as to whether or not you want to involve the police
  • If you decide not to involve the police, collect witness statements and witness contact information
  • Exchange information with the other driver
    • This information includes: their insurance information and their contact information
    • If the other driver is hard to work with, or you were involved in a hit and run call the police.
  • Do not make any admissions of guilt
  • Do not accept any offers or promises from the other driver outside of an insurance settlement
  • Get a medical check-up to ensure no damage or injury occurred to your person
  • Pursue all necessary medical treatments
  •  

Lawsuits vs. Settlements

Learn about communicating with claim adjusters, settling without a lawyer and more.

You Deserve a Fair Settlement

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