Insurance companies take advantage of their clients in more ways than one. You may have heard how difficult it is to obtain a settlement after an accident. This is because they use several tactics that help them delay or deny paying you what you deserve. This is a problem, but there is one other thing that you must worry about, and that is how much the company is charging you for insurance.
Hopes and Intentions
It might surprise you to know that your insurance company is happy when you get a ticket. After this occurs, they can determine that you are now a more dangerous driver than you were when they offered you the insurance policy. Then, they can increase your rates. The same thing happens when their clients get into a California car accidents.
When you either receive a traffic ticket or get into a car collision, an insurance company can increase your rates by 20% or as much as 200%, but this will depend on a few other things. For example, one factor is the severity of the traffic violation. If you have past convictions on your record, this is another factor. It is customary to consider these infractions for charging rates for about three years, but some companies consider them for a much longer period of time.
An insurance company may advertise itself as an advocate for riskier drivers. These companies lure these drivers in by saying that they can offer them low rates, but the second that they receive marks on their driving records, they raise these rates considerably.
Insurance companies often overcharge their clients. For example, your vehicle may have cost you $35,000, but the insurance company is still charging you $900 every six months for your insurance policy. Five years have passed, and your vehicle is worth $71,500. This is half the amount that it cost you, so your insurance policy should also be half as much as it was in the beginning. If you can qualify for any discounts, it should go down even further.
New as Opposed to Older
A new vehicle will cost the insurance company more to fix than an older one. Also, if the car is so damaged in an accident that it must be “totaled,” replacing a new vehicle will be more expensive for the company as well. If you fail to switch companies every couple of years, your rates will be higher than they would be with another company. That’s because as you switch, your vehicle will be a couple of years older than the day you insured it for the first time.
After you are involved in one of the many California car accidents, you will see even more ways that an insurance company will take advantage of its clients. The most important thing that insurance adjusters must do is make sure that you trust them. Employees with your insurance company may act as if they are very attentive. They will imply that they are allowing you to take the time you need to recover from your accident. The reality may be that they are stalling.
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years. If you don’t file your claim before that date, you will lose the ability to do so forever unless you meet one of the exceptions, and those are very rare.
It is in the insurance company’s best interests to allow the statute of limitations to pass. If the company’s employees cannot do this, they will offer you what is known as a “low-ball” offer so that they can quickly close the case without having to pay you a large sum of money.
Adjusters can use your social media accounts to their advantage. For example, you may post about your accident, and without the intention, you may have written or said something that could suggest that you have some liability in the collision. In addition to that, you may post pictures or videos that show you performing actions that the insurance company believes that you shouldn’t be able to do if you are as injured as you claim to be. The insurance company can use this as evidence against you in court.
While your claim is being investigated, make sure that you are not online at that time.
One way that company employees reduce settlements is by taking a statement from you. To make things even worse, they will tell you that they need to record the statement. Then, they will have you in a recording making what they hope are incriminating statements.
This is not something that you want to do without your own attorney. After an accident, you may not notice that you have been hurt for several days. For example, if you have any internal injuries, you wouldn’t necessarily know it for at least 24 hours. Sometimes, people notice these injuries only after as many as three days have passed. Some injuries to the brain and the neck weren’t noticeable for as long as eight days after the accident, and symptoms of a concussion may not be known for several weeks.
In the first week, you may not think that you were injured, and if you say this in a recorded statement, the insurance company will use it to deny you monetary compensation. If you begin to notice your injuries later, the insurance company will say that the injuries are not due to the car accident. You may also suffer from some symptoms that are not necessarily physical. For example, people experience PTSD or personality changes that result from brain damage.
To avoid saying something that will cost you, the best thing that you can do is hire a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will do the talking for you from that moment on so that this is no longer a concern. The insurance company’s employees will talk to everyone involved in this issue, including law enforcement officers and witnesses at the scene of your accident. They will even interview your family members, friends and neighbors with the hope that they can find something to discredit you. Make sure that you are not one of them.
An insurance company is not your friend, and the employees don’t have your best interests at heart. Their goal is to pay you the least amount of money possible, but this doesn’t have to be how things end. When you hire a personal injury attorney, your lawyer will make sure that the insurance company offers you a settlement that is according to the contract that you signed with it.
For this reason, it isn’t in your best interests to accept an offer that comes early in the process. This may seem like a good idea because you can receive the money you need much faster, but you may not know the extent of your injuries at this moment. The early settlement offer will be a low-ball offer that may not be enough to cover all of your injuries, but if you accept it, you will not be able to obtain more money from the insurance company later on.
An insurance adjuster offers people low-ball settlements because most people take them. These offers were a lot less than these victims needed for their injuries, but they didn’t seem to know that they could hire an attorney. The first offer that an insurance adjuster provides you with is in the company’s interests, so you must not accept it until you have spoken with an attorney.
The fact is that insurance adjusters are hoping that they will not have to work too hard to get you to go away after a car accident. That’s why the company may not really investigate your claim right away, which allows them to delay the entire process. They are hoping that all they need to do is offer a low-ball settlement so that they can close this matter. This is not in your best interests, so don’t allow this to happen to you.
Fear of the Courtroom
Another reason that the insurance adjuster may offer a low-ball settlement is because the company is concerned that you will hire an attorney. Then, there is the possibility that you could sue them. This is their greatest nightmare because they know that juries do not look favorably on insurance companies.
The company dreads having to spend money on a lawsuit, and if they lose in court, they could be ordered to pay you a lot more money than you are asking them for now. They would rather offer you a low settlement and hope that you do not hire an attorney.
Many people decide to take the money because they have bills they need to pay, and the offer gives them an immediate source of income. An attorney can help you pay these bills without accepting the unfair offer that your insurance adjuster made to you. Contact an attorney today.