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Negotiation Tips When Dealing With Car Insurance Companies

We would all do well to remember that car insurance companies are for-profit institutions. They are interested in making money, not protecting car accident victims. Because of this, it's important to keep your guard up at all times. Here are some general tips for dealing with car insurance adjusters.

  1. Be Detailed and Thorough -- Present the car insurance adjuster with documents that list the full extent of your damages and losses. The areas you will most likely want to cover are the cost of your car, lost wages, medical bills and extended care costs. You should also describe the extent of your pain and suffering.
  2. Let the Car Insurance Adjuster Make the Initial Offer -- The car insurance adjuster will want you to make the initial settlement demand first. If you make the first offer, then you are limiting the amount of your recovery from the beginning.
    The car insurance company knows that you may very well ask for less than what the adjuster is willing to offer. Instead, insist that the car insurance adjuster makes the first offer, an offer that addresses all of your damages.
    Once the insurance adjuster commits to an offer, tell him you'll need some time to think it over and to consult with family members or your lawyer. When you're ready, you can counter with your offer. Make the insurance adjuster sweat, and always act politely disappointed with whatever you are offered.
  3. Make Small Concessions -- Make small concessions when negotiating a personal injury settlement. Big concessions are generally taken as a sign that you are poor negotiator, and can lead to even more aggressive haggling by the insurance adjuster.
    Making small concessions will also maximize your settlement, allowing for no unnecessary losses. Keep in mind that whenever you make even a small concession, you're demonstrating your flexibility and trustworthiness. This allows you to ask for concessions in return -- as an act of good faith.
  4. Take Your Time -- When it comes to negotiation, patience is definitely a virtue. Don't hurry the insurance adjuster to accept a quick settlement. It can make you seem desperate, which will put you on worse footing in negotiations. There are two effective ways to stall for time: Tell the adjuster you want to consult a lawyer before you accept or tell him that you want your injuries to heal before getting back to him with an answer.

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