UPDATED: APRIL 27, 2023 | 2 MIN READ
The last thing you want to do is worry about an auto insurance adjuster when you’re in an accident. An insurance adjuster is an employee who will review your claim and approve or deny coverage. Insurance adjusters have a huge impact on your settlement and finances. To ensure a positive outcome, we’ll teach you how to file auto insurance claims and handle your insurance claims adjuster.
How to file an auto insurance claim
For an auto insurance claims adjuster to grant you coverage, you must file an auto insurance claim. Make sure you gather all the details and make a strong claim. You’ll also need to make a claim as soon as possible — many insurance companies have a time limit on how long you can wait to file the claim.
Get the information from the other driver
If multiple cars were involved in the accident, ensure you get the information you need from every driver. Here’s what information to collect from the driver(s):
- Car registration number
- License plate number
- Phone number
- Insurance company and policy details
To submit a proper car insurance claim, you need to have details from the incident. Here’s what you should document, both physically and virtually:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Photos of the accident and damage and a drawing.
- A crime reference number (if you called the cops)
- Hospital records and receipts of any medical bills
- A copy of the claim and all the information you submitted for it
Do I have to submit a claim if I’m in an accident?
Generally, submitting an insurance claim is best if you’re in a car accident. You may have incurred damage from the accident that you can’t see, which could cause major expenses down the line.
However, if your car has been checked out and the damage is minor, you may be better off not submitting a claim. That’s because submitting claims can cause your monthly auto insurance payments to increase.
What does an auto insurance claims adjuster do?
An auto insurance adjuster resolves a claim by:
- Reviewing the details of the accident and even inspecting the vehicle in-person
- Conducting interviews with whoever claimed the accident and any other witnesses
- Reviewing the medical records and other documents submitted
- Consulting with the police report
- Reviewing the insurance policy
The auto insurance adjuster can determine the insurance company’s liability by following these steps.
What’s the goal of an auto insurance claims adjuster?
It’s important to remember the goal of your insurance adjuster. They’re trying to save money for their employer. They can use it against you to pay you less if you say anything. That being said, you must be careful about what you say to an insurance adjuster.
However, insurance adjusters have no financial interest in your insurance claim outcome. They’re not gaining money if they pay you less. However, knowing they’re working for your insurance company is still important.
What should you not say to an insurance adjuster?
What you say to your insurance claims adjuster matters greatly. If you want to be compensated for the accident, here’s what you shouldn’t say to your auto insurance claims adjuster:
- Don’t admit fault. Don’t say, “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t see them,” or “It was my fault.”
- Don’t downplay your personal injuries. If you downplay your injuries, you’ll receive far less compensation. So don’t say anything like, “It wasn’t that bad,” or “I’m not in pain.”
- Avoid discussing personal injuries. Adjusters are trying to understand how much the medical bills will cost. Yet at the same time, they’re trying to pay the least amount possible. That being said, don’t discuss any pre-existing conditions that could increase the number of medical bills. Never give an adjuster access to your previous medical records (aside from the ones you submitted in the claim).
- Don’t speculate about the crash. What you think is not necessarily correct, and if your statements are inconsistent, the adjuster can use it against you. If you don’t know an answer to a question with 100% certainty, just say you don’t know.
- Don’t provide a recorded statement. You may be asked to, but never agree to provide a statement. It could be taken out of context or used to prove that your statements are inconsistent. Politely refuse a recorded statement. This also goes for written statements early on in the process.
How much money should I ask for in a settlement?
Here’s what you should consider when you’re deciding how much to ask for from your insurance company:
- The extent of your injuries: If your injuries are severe, ask for more money.
- If you must miss work: If your injuries keep you from work, ask for a higher settlement.
Insurance companies often reject your first offer, so don’t be afraid to go higher than what you want. They will try to negotiate the price down.
What factors impact your settlement?
Here are the factors your insurance adjuster will consider when determining your settlement:
- Car accident details
- Your medical history
- Whether or not your injury was present before the accident
- How soon after the accident do you go to the doctor or hospital
- Whether or not the treatment you received was necessary
How to handle interactions with your claims adjuster
The bottom line is: Don’t trust your claim adjuster. They’re not on your side, and whatever you say will be used against you. This is not to say claims adjusters are bad people — but they are loyal to their employer (your insurance company). Don’t make their job easy by slipping up in front of them.
Should you hire a lawyer?
The choice is up to you. But lawyers can greatly help you throughout the claims process. Plus, a claims adjuster is more likely to take you seriously if you have an attorney. They’ll be less likely to pull a fast one on you.
Plus, your personal injury attorney is talented at negotiating. They’ll be able to negotiate a better deal with your insurance company than you would be able to on your own.
What are some insurance adjuster red flags?
Here are some red flags to look out for with your insurance adjuster. You might best hire an attorney if they show one of these red flags.
Hire an attorney if your adjuster:
- Acts like they’re your friend or tries to catch you off guard (for example, before you know how bad your injuries are, or before you get an attorney).
- Suggests you’d be better off without an attorney.
- Asks for a written or recorded statement.
- Asks you to sign papers or releases before a claim is settled.
- Suggests you visit a doctor suggested by the insurance company.
Final tips for dealing with insurance adjusters
Be honest with your insurance adjuster. However, be careful about what you say to them. If you’re having problems with the insurance adjuster, consider:
- Speaking with their supervisor
- Hire an attorney
- Writing to the State Department of Insurance
Dealing with insurance adjusters can be frustrating and tricky. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help if you need it.
What should you not say to an auto insurance claims adjuster?
Don’t admit fault, downplay personal injuries, discuss your medical history, or speculate about the crash.
Are auto insurance claims adjusters honest?
They’re not necessarily dishonest. There are many kind and empathetic adjusters. However, you have to remember that they have an agenda to help their employer.
Can I keep extra money from an auto insurance claim?
You can keep the money from the claim if you fully own your vehicle.
How do companies pay out auto insurance claims?
Your insurance company may:
- Send a check
- Transfer money directly into your account
- Pay the mechanic and hospital directly
What happens when you first make an auto insurance claim?
The insurance adjuster will start trying to settle your claim quickly.
After dealing with an accident and potential injuries, you must receive the financial compensation you deserve. Remember, you’re paying for auto insurance every month.
That’s why filing your auto insurance claims directly and handling the claims adjuster properly is important. Get multiple auto insurance quotes today to find out how you can save money and get great coverage.