Unlike residents of many countries in the world, Americans are used to paying what’s on the price tag. After all, the dollar amount shown is often the final offer!
But while negotiation can be rare in the U.S., that doesn’t mean it’s unexpected in all cases. When you’re negotiating an insurance settlement, in particular, it’s important not to fall into the habit of accepting the first dollar amount you see. Instead, standing your ground can help you negotiate a cash settlement that’s more in line with what you deserve.
If you’re new to these negotiations, here are a few critical tips to help you get more money from an insurance settlement.
Hire an Attorney
If you want to receive fair compensation, the best thing you can do for yourself is hire an attorney. With a professional on your side, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the challenges of your settlement negotiation.
An attorney can help you with all of the steps below, and their expertise can also allow you to secure the most money for your pain, suffering, or damages. They’ll also be able to provide accurate information about the settlement process and what to expect.
Gather Extensive Documentation
The more evidence you can present to prove your case, the better. From police reports to hospital visits to repair quotes, providing objective documentation is your first and best avenue to success. Don’t throw anything away!
All the documentation in the world won’t help you if you can’t find it. Make sure to keep your evidence in an organized binder so you can find what you need fast.
Beyond documentation, it’s important to also stay on top of other information as well. Take care to document all conversations you have with any insurance agents or with the party at fault. To stay organized, create a spreadsheet to track these conversations and action items.
Decide on a Goal Settlement Amount
When you first start to negotiate with an insurance company, you’ll need to create a demand letter that states what kind of compensation you think you deserve.
Beyond the number you give them, however, you’ll need to make a few decisions to keep to yourself. If you’ve asked for a large amount of money, what is the minimum amount you’d be willing to accept? What evidence can you provide to emphasize why you deserve a larger amount of money?
If you’ve hired an attorney, they will be able to guide you toward a reasonable amount based on their past experience with similar cases. If not, you’ll need to do some research on your own to decide how much you should expect.
Don’t Accept a Lowball Offer
This may seem like a given, but many people jump at the chance for compensation by taking the first option on the table. However, it’s worth noting that an adjuster will often present a low initial insurance compensation offer to see how you’ll react. In most cases, they’ll expect a counteroffer.
Be ready to bargain, and if you believe you have enough evidence to justify your claim, don’t be afraid to fight for more compensation.
Follow These Best Practices to Keep a Cool Head
The steps above can help you keep organized, keep from buckling under pressure, and—most importantly—keep a cool head during the settlement process. Presenting objective facts, ideally with the help of your attorney, can help stay focused and stand your ground to get the insurance settlement offer you deserve.
Searching for more tips to help you make the most of tricky situations? Check out our other posts for additional insights.