Dealing with Insurance Companies – Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green
There are certain things to keep in mind when dealing with insurance companies—ways to ensure that you receive what you’re entitled to. People have insurance for many reasons; to rely on for car repairs, house repairs, healthcare costs and, currently of importance, weather damage repairs. Thus, people turn to their insurance companies for assistance when, for example, their cars are damaged, a tree crashes through their house, they break a bone, or a nasty hurricane barrels through their neighborhood, leaving their property in pieces and their lives in shambles.
In this blog we’re going to offer some advice about properly dealing with insurance companies so that you don’t end up in a position where you don’t get all that you’re entitled to. Remember, insurance companies don’t turn a profit by automatically paying you everything you’re entitled to—they make money by charging you premiums and then figuring out ways to not pay you what you’re owed. Keep in mind that insurance companies, despite their reassuringly compassionate television advertisements, are, at the end of the day, for-profit corporations.
First, be careful of what you say. Your words may come back to haunt you. If, for example, at the time of an auto accident, you say that you aren’t injured, you may very well be forfeiting your right to compensation if related injuries pop up later on. It is a common consensus among the medical community that after an auto accident, it can take months for injuries from the accident to start showing symptoms. If you said you were fine at the scene of the accident, though, the insurance companies will have a way to hold that against you and justify not covering the healthcare costs related to your injury. So, at the scene of an accident, don’t jump to conclusions about your health—you never know what might happen.
Below are DO’s and DONT’s from State Farm Insurance Company following an auto accident:
The fender bender you were just in appears to be minor. No one looks injured and there is minimal damage to the vehicles. First breathe a sigh of relief – then take these precautions to help prevent your small accident from becoming a big problem.
stay at the scene and move your vehicle to a safe place out of traffic even if there appears to be no damage. If the other car is parked and the owner isn’t around, leave a note with your name and contact information.
assume there aren’t injuries.
assess yourself and your passengers. Even low-impact collisions can cause injuries, some not appearing until days after the accident.
sign any documents and avoid accepting or offering cash for repairs. You may end up paying out-of-pocket to repair damage to your car that only appears minor, or you could pay the other driver more than necessary.
stay calm. Take notes and photos, and exchange information with the other driver, including your name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance company, and policy number.
assume an accident is too minor to be reported.
call the police or file a report on your own. This will help your insurance agent handle your claim. An accident report could also help protect you from issues that may arise later about the extent of damage to your vehicle or injuries to you and the other driver.
It is interesting that State Farm admits that even low impact auto accidents can cause injuries, some not appearing for days after the crash. Normally, insurance companies fight tooth and nail to prove that a low impact collision CANNOT cause any injury. Please feel free to use this information should you have a claim against State Farm!!!
Another important note on insurance claims is to remember that signatures are often times the only thing an insurance company needs to close a case (so to speak). With your signature on a settlement agreement or RELEASE, you can be forced into receiving a payout that is substantially less than you’re entitled to. Never sign any agreement from and with an insurance company without consulting an experienced attorney. An attorney may not always have the golden solution, but they do know how to look for the tricks that insurance companies will use to dupe you out of what is rightfully yours.
This last bit of advice has to do with damage to your home (from a fire or hurricane, fro example). Before you start the process of throwing out the damaged items and trying to refurbish the salvageable, make sure to take pictures of your lost property. Pull out your cell phone and snap a photo; this will serve as evidence of the property you had that was damaged—evidence of what the insurance company may be responsible for replacing. The insurance company will not just take your word for what you had in the house. Document all of your damaged belongings.
When dealing with an insurance company in relation to a settlement or making an insurance claim, one of the most important things you can do is speak with an attorney who has experience in this area. The Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green concentrate 100% of our time and effort on insurance claims.
Give us a call. The consultation is on us; you’ve got enough to worry about. You may reach us at 561-266-9191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.