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How to Talk to an Insurance Adjuster

Serving Families Throughout Jacksonville
car wreck

First, What Is an Insurance Adjuster?

Insurance adjusters (sometimes referred to as claims specialists or claims representatives) are commonly employed by insurance companies to manage claimants, investigate the details of a claim, check available coverage, and determine a settlement.

There are different types of adjusters for different types of claims. For example, a single adjuster may handle only car accidents, home insurance claims, or medical malpractice claims. In this brief email, we’re going to concentrate on auto insurance claims, since these are among the most common claims made by individuals.

What Does an Insurance Adjuster Do?

To know how to deal with an insurance adjuster after a car accident, it’s important to understand what they do.

Insurance adjusters fact-check every aspect of a claim to determine the party at fault and prevent cases of fraud. Apart from identifying the at-fault party, an auto insurance claims adjuster will review a policy to determine what’s available to cover loss and/or damage.

If you file a car accident insurance claim, an insurance adjuster may perform the following:

  • Assess the vehicle (often in person) and take photographs.
    • They’re looking for damages that match the description of the accident as well as any preexisting damage that should not be included in the claim.
    • A claims adjuster will also likely verify the license plate, VIN, and odometer reading.
  • They may interview witnesses or passengers involved in the accident to learn more about what happened.
    • A first-party witness is a person directly involved in an accident and likely has a stake in the outcome (i.e., a driver directly involved in the crash).
    • A third-party witness is a person who saw the accident but has no stake in the outcome of the case (e.g., drivers or passengers in an uninvolved vehicle; pedestrians, etc.).
  • They will gather police reports, hospital records, and they will contact medical providers to calculate medical expenses.

Why What You Say to an Insurance Adjuster Matters

When an adjuster conducts an investigation it’s often to look for ways to save the insurance company money, and they are trained in ways to do this. For example:

  • Limiting a settlement offer because the victim unwittingly downplayed or underestimated his or her injuries. This is why it’s always best to consult a medical professional to obtain accurate medical information after a car accident.
  • Limiting or denying a claim because the victim unintentionally made statements that implied fault (e.g., I’m sorry, I didn’t see the other car, etc.). It is best to keep communication with an insurance adjuster respectful but direct and brief.
  • Quickly offering an exceptionally low settlement first to assess your awareness of your rights and to tempt accident victims with a quick way to pay off bills.

The Bottom Line
It is important to understand that the insurance adjuster is not your friend. Don’t be fooled by an empathetic tone or alleged interest in your personal well-being—the insurance adjuster doesn’t work for you, he or she works for the insurance company.

Furthermore, if you say the wrong thing to an auto insurance adjuster it can negatively impact your claim or even make it impossible to file one.

If you or someone you care about is ever seriously injured in a car accident, becoming a skilled negotiator overnight might not be possible. This is why many car accident victims choose to work with an injury lawyer. Unlike an insurance adjuster, a personal injury lawyer can help protect a victim’s rights and strive for an outcome that best serves the victim’s interests. While nobody ever imagines themselves being involved in a car accident, the reality is it happens every single day to thousands of people. And, if you need us…. we are here 24/7 to help!

Keep your friends and family informed by sharing this quick email with the people you care about.