When you are in a car accident, getting the help you need from your insurance company can be a confusing and overwhelming process. To make sure you get the most out of your claim and avoid mistakes that could cost you time or money, it's helpful to know what to do and what not to do.
Don’t Act Without Knowing Your Policy Details
It’s critical that you understand the benefits of your car insurance policy. Knowing what is and isn’t covered, understanding your liabilities and ensuring all necessary forms are completed correctly can save you from costly mistakes. Most importantly, be sure to understand the terms “med pay” and “uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage” to ensure that you’re adequately protected in case of an accident.
Having a better understanding of your policy details can keep you from assuming that your insurance company will take care of all costs Associated with a car accident. For example, some policies include med-pay coverage which pays for medical bills related to an accident regardless of who caused it, while other policies may not provide coverage unless the other driver is at fault and does not have adequate insurance. Additionally, when completing and filing forms to report the claim, there may be specific documents you must sign in order to receive coverage or any kind of compensation from your insurer. Understanding how these forms affect you and your rights is essential in successfully navigating an insurance claim after a crash.
Don’t Wait to File a Claim
Don’t wait to file a claim with your insurance company after an accident. Once you’ve collected all the necessary information and documented who was involved in the accident, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to start the claims process. Insurance companies have time limits within which they must respond to claims, so if you don’t submit yours in a timely manner, you may miss valuable opportunities to receive due compensation.
The claims process can be lengthy and complex, but having a basic understanding of what car accident insurance covers will help you navigate the complicated world of submitting an accurate claim. Typically, this includes medical costs if you were injured in the accident, damage to your car or another’s car involved in the accident, damage to personal property such as fences or mailboxes that were run over, and rental cars if your vehicle had to be taken away for repairs. Knowing exactly what kind of coverage you have will ensure that you submit the right claim forms so your insurance company can review it faster.
Don’t Delay Medical Treatment and Documentation
Immediately following a car accident, medical treatment should be your top priority. Not only is it important to seek medical attention to check for any possible injuries or illnesses, but it can also help ensure your insurance claim is approved. Documentation of the medical treatment provides proof of when and how the injury occurred and can help counter any accusations that could be thrown at you for exaggerating or fabricating your claims. Additionally, delays in getting the proper care and documentation can often result in insurance companies denying claims due to poor record-keeping.
Time is of the essence when it comes to seeking medical attention. Under Florida law, to be eligible for personal injury protection(PIP), you must seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident that caused the injuries. It’s important for you to get all the necessary medical paperwork in order, as well as follow-up on any treatment that may be recommended from a doctor or professional. You should also never sign any paperwork or make blanket statements without consulting with an attorney first. Taking these steps can go a long way in protecting your rights after a car accident and help maximize your chances of getting the financial help you need.
Don’t Accept the First Offer
When an insurance company makes you a settlement offer, don’t be quick to accept it without first consulting with a legal professional. Insurance companies have the primary goal of closing claims quickly, so their initial offers may not fully compensate for your damages and losses. To protect yourself and the other party involved in the accident, speak with a lawyer before signing any documents or agreeing to any offer. Doing so can make sure you get what is rightfully owed to you following an accident.
Before accepting an offer, you should consult with a lawyer to get an opinion on whether it is fair. Having legal representation can also help ensure that the amount of compensation you receive and all aspects of your claim are fully taken care of. An experienced attorney can explain your legal rights and advise whether or not it is in your best interests to accept the insurance company’s offer. This includes negotiating a higher settlement. Consulting with a legal professional can ultimately put you in a stronger position when settling an auto accident claim.
Don’t Refuse to Negotiate or Compromise
Another common mistake to avoid when dealing with car accident insurance coverage is failing to negotiate or compromise. Many people rely on their insurance companies as a crutch and accept whatever coverage they offer without attempting to get the full protection they deserve. In some cases, it’s possible to get a more comprehensive policy at a better price by engaging in negotiations. The key is to remember that the insurance company will usually be willing to budge if you are persistent in your pursuit of getting the best deal available.
To successfully negotiate for better insurance coverage, you will need to be prepared by doing extensive research on applicable state and federal laws, talking with other drivers about their own experiences, and consulting with legal experts in your area if needed. This is the best way to ensure that you are getting the most comprehensive and cost-effective coverage for your car accident. Once you have obtained all of the information necessary, consider discussing any reservations you have with an insurance agent. Be polite but firm as they present their offers, and remember that negotiating a fairer deal is always in your best interest.