There are no set rules when entering into the negotiation process with insurance companies. However, the negotiations almost always take the same basic format.
Beyond the basic framework of how to negotiate, there are a lot of underhanded ambitions that come into play here. These ambitions are used to speed up the process of the other steps. Intimidation and distortion of the actual truth of the matter are the two most common things that come in to play.
The first step in the negotiation process is known as your demand letter. You first write a short letter indicating your intent to file a claim. Then you proceed by writing a letter of demand. Once the letter has been written and sent you now officially have an open claim.
That demand letter lays the foundation for all future negotiations. In it you will be making your first request for a specific amount of money. This amount of money should be higher than you would expect to be rewarded, but within reason.
After your demand letter has been received and reviewed by the insurance adjuster, you will be contacted by phone or letter explaining why your claim won't work. The adjuster will question the accusations of liability and try to de-emphasize their client's liability. The adjuster will also try to turn the tables on you and put some of the blame on you, making you partially liable.
Upon receiving your letter the adjuster will attempt to use any number of intimidation tactics. The adjuster will try to explain how their policies work and try to convince you that you will get nowhere by demanding so much from them. Just listen to them talk, when they are done it will be your turn.
The next step in the negotiation process is when you will have to defend your demands and why you feel you are entitled to receive the amount requested.
At this point (assuming you did a good job of showing that your demand is legitimate) the adjuster will offer you a settlement which, compared to your demand, will probably be a ridiculously low amount. Turn down their offer, but give in a little bit. Your demand was purposely too high, so now you'll be able to agree with them a little and make a new offer.
This "offer battle" may go back and fourth for a while until an amount can be agreed upon. In most cases the adjuster will eventually offer a suitable amount of money and you can accept it.
If the insurance adjuster refuses to agree on a fair settlement amount you may have to file a lawsuit, which is the final step of your negotiation process. From there you'll need a personal injury attorney to take over.
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