Imagine this: you’re driving down a main road in town, obeying the speed limit, and come to a stop at a stop light. A few seconds later, your car gets hit from behind by another driver who wasn’t paying attention and didn’t stop in time. You’ve been rear-ended and now your car has a big dent. Even worse, you have to deal with insurance companies, to file a claim to get your car repaired. No one like likes to deal with insurance companies, but here are a few tips to help you the next time you’re in an accident.
Read the Fine Print
This tip is simple, but crucial: do not ever sign anything without reading it first and making sure you understand the document. If you don’t understand it, don’t feel pressured into signing it anyway. Ask the insurance company to clarify anything you don’t understand, or seek outside expert advice about it.
Keep Records of Everything
When in doubt, keep it. Whether it’s pictures, emails, phone records, or receipts, keep it. Frequently, the most valuable asset you can have following an accident is information. You never know what may turn up as useful information. Until the case is settled, keep all data associated with the event.
Employ Expert Counsel
While most car accident cases are generally simplistic in terms of who caused the accident and therefore whose insurance is responsible for repairs, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the case can get complicated with red tape and negotiations. Insurance companies are businesses, and if they can avoid paying large sums of money, they will. If you’re having trouble with your case, consider retaining a law firm. Lawyers will be more equipped to navigate the difficult waters of negotiation and get you the compensation you deserve.
Utilize Transparent Communication
Communication is the backbone of a good negotiation and result. If you make a phone call, send an email to the other person summarizing the conversation. This also creates a paper trail. Speak with clear language and intent. Be transparent in what your goals are with a case. Transparency is a great way to cultivate trust and rapport with all entities.
Gather an Arsenal of Evidence
This is similar to keeping records of everything, but it’s a little more than that. Evidence is quite literally the foundation of a case. The more information and evidence you have, the better the chances are that you’ll get the insurance company to capitulate. Gather as much evidence as you can and need so your case is rock-solid.
No one likes getting in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. In the best of cases, it’s inconvenient and in the worst, it’s a nightmarish debacle. By fully employing these tips, you’ll be able to avoid the worst outcomes when dealing with insurance.
Claire Stewart is a freelance writer and blogger focused on writing about health, travel, and business among other topics. She graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelors in Women’s Studies and currently lives in Seattle with her goldfish, Merlin.