Dealing with insurance adjusters can be intimidating. They represent large corporations and receive special training on minimizing payouts. Trying to negotiate fairly often means facing rigid bureaucracy or even outright stonewalling.
When legitimate claims get denied or severely undervalued, consumers rightfully feel frustrated and powerless. Some resort to scary tactics to try forcing higher settlements from otherwise uncooperative adjusters. Techniques range from subtly stress-invoking to borderline unethical.
This article explores pressure-inducing options for those at their wit’s end fighting insurance companies. Note these suggestions toe the line between assertive advocacy and overly antagonistic. Proceed judiciously.
Master the Details
Few things rattle adjusters more than policyholders who know the policy back-to-front. Thoroughly analyze what coverage you have, any relevant riders, exclusions, limits, and loopholes. Consulting professionals like lawyers or public adjusters also builds confidence and conveys you did your homework.
Come armed with intricate knowledge of reconstruction estimates, accounting statements, precedents from similar cases, applicable laws, and other technical specifics. An adjuster may present one perspective, but overriding their storyline with air-tight supporting data makes them nervous.
Refuse Early Offers
Adjusters expect few policyholders to reject initial amounts, so holding out signals you won’t be pushed around. Wait for the adjuster to make the first proposal, then firmly say you expected better based on your research.
Silently allowing an insultingly low offer to hang there creates awkwardness adjusters wish to relieve through upping amounts. Just don’t delay countering so long it gets misinterpreted as begrudging acceptance.
Question Their Authority
Insurers usually assign junior reps with limited authority to first contact policyholders after losses. Probe what dollar values the adjuster can approve without supervisor sign-off. Subtly implying you might go over their head or take things to court suggests you won’t tolerate low-balling.
If negotiations stall, request to speak to a manager then pointedly re-lay your entire case. Force higher-ups to personally validate any denial or inadequate valuation. Making people directly responsible tends to loosen purse strings.
File Official Complaints
Most states have insurance oversight agencies that investigate policyholder grievances against individual adjusters or carriers. Outline in excruciating detail how the company circumvented rules, made false promises, or operated through gross negligence or bad faith.
Check if the adjuster holds any professional designations whose governing bodies also handle misconduct claims. While official complaints rarely produce direct results, they signal how serious the matter became — plus sometimes crop up on license/credential renewal background checks.
Simply disappearing mid-negotiation leaves adjusters hanging uncomfortably. After submitting all documentation and making your case forcefully, stop calling or go non-responsive to their attempts contacting you. Surprise silence is destabilizing since they don’t know whether you gave up, got busy with something else, or quietly lawyered up.
Adjusters rely on controlling conversations through superior knowledge, so unexplained withdrawal flips the script. The worry you’re plotting something in the background often inspires improved offers.
Here are some frequently asked questions about negotiating insurance claim settlements:
How much should I ask for initially?
Ask for the maximum defensible amount based on property valuations, repair estimates, medical bills, lost income calculations, and other tangible losses. Pad amounts somewhat knowing it will get negotiated down.
What if the adjuster denies there is coverage at all?
Refer to your policy language stating exactly what should be covered. Highlight relevant sections in written communications. If they still refuse, consult the state insurance department to launch a formal investigation.
Can I record calls with the insurance adjuster?
Yes, if you first inform them you are recording. Documenting conversations protects against an adjuster later reversing promises or positions. Just be sure to comply with all applicable wiretapping laws.
What is the deadline for reaching a settlement?
Deadlines vary by state and policy type. Carefully review any time limits for submitting claims paperwork, replacing damaged property, undergoing medical treatment, providing documentation, and so on.
If I utilize scary tactics, could the insurer retaliate?
In theory yes, if tactics cross lines into illegal harassment or threats. Stick to good-faith negotiating by standing firm on facts, filing formal complaints through proper channels, and bringing in legal counsel solely to advise and represent you.
Policyholders have every right to demand fair, prompt claim compensation per the insurance contracts they paid for. When polite requests get ignored or dismissed, applying well-targeted pressure provokes better settlement offers. Just take care to avoid truly antagonistic or unethical actions. With preparation and determination, you can effectively advocate for rightful claim reimbursements.