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Should I accept an insurance company’s initial settlement offer?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Auto Accidents

Insurance claims can be very frustrating, as they may take weeks or even months to resolve. After a car crash, the people involved in the wreck have bills immediately. They have to pay to tow their vehicles and to repair them.

They also need to pay for medical care. If their injuries are serious enough, they may have lost wages beginning the day of the crash. Waiting a long time for the insurance company to cover those losses can be a very frustrating experience.

People who receive settlement offers from insurance companies are often excited about the prospect of having a relatively fast resolution to their claims. They might, therefore, make the mistake of accepting an initial settlement offer without reviewing it carefully.

The issue with first settlement offers

It is easy to reach the wrong conclusion about an insurance settlement offer. People sometimes inaccurately believe that an initial settlement offer is the best offer an insurance company might make. They are often so desperate for the funds necessary to pay crash expenses that they accept the offer without much consideration.

However, most insurance professionals make first settlement offers expecting a counter-offer requesting more compensation. The offer is likely well below the policy limits and may also be well below the total financial impact of the crash. Once someone accepts a settlement offer, they typically cannot request more compensation regardless of what happens.

How to evaluate a settlement offer

The best response to a settlement offer is a thorough review of the terms proposed by the insurance company. People typically start that process by calculating the financial impact of the crash. They look at their current expenses and likely future expenses. Vehicle repair costs, medical bills and lost income can all increase the financial impact of a crash. The average person may struggle to reasonably estimate how much a collision could cost. They may also struggle to handle the next step in the process, which is countering the proposed settlement offer.

Someone who is already coping with injuries and a damaged vehicle may need support when estimating collision expenses and negotiating with an insurance company. Recognizing that an initial settlement offer is a starting point for negotiations can help people after a car crash. Those who push for an appropriate amount of compensation often achieve a better outcome than those who accept a first offer.