Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Dec 2, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

If you’ve been wondering how to deal with auto insurance claims adjusters, we got you covered. After you file your auto accident insurance claim, the next thing would be dealing with an insurance adjuster. However, there are some things to know about your auto claims adjuster.

Working with an insurance adjuster means that he/she researches your accident, studies your policy, and decides how much money you are entitled to. The best way to approach the car insurance adjuster and fight a car insurance claim is to be respectful and well prepared.

Although the adjuster works for the insurance company that makes money by paying you less, most car insurance adjusters will deal with you fairly, especially if you are respectful, knowledgeable, and prepared to prove the value of your accident claim.

What do insurance adjusters do? A car insurance adjuster’s main concern is to justify the insurance settlement for the file. Therefore, providing them with the correct documentation to prove your settlement will not only make your car insurance claim go more smoothly, but it will also help you get the settlement that you want.

If you run into trouble with a claims adjuster, you may need legal help. To get that help now, just enter your ZIP code above.

Negotiating Your Accident Claim with Insurance Adjusters

Negotiating your car insurance claim with an insurance adjuster can be a little intimidating at first. However, knowing your claim value and having all the necessary documentation will give you the tools you need to navigate the negotiation with confidence. Be polite but cautious when dealing with a car insurance adjuster, and always remember that they will ultimately serve the company’s interests over yours. A few simple tips to keep in mind as you speak with an adjuster:

  • Start your conversation by outlining the overall circumstances that created your auto insurance claim, highlighting the points that support your value of the claim (other driver’s negligence, you following rules of the road, what the police report says, etc). Remember, you’re not telling the insurance adjuster anything that they probably don’t already know, however, you are letting them know that you’re an informed claimant and that you understand the value of your auto insurance claim.
  • Advise the insurance adjuster of the total of your special damages and the amount you’re demanding for the settlement of your accident claim. At this point, don’t be surprised if the insurance adjuster breaks off the conversation by saying that they will consider your demand and get back to you. This is to break your momentum. Not contacting you for two or more days may be a tactic to slow you down and to make you think that you have to settle for less. Remember, a well-documented auto insurance claim has merit and when fault is not in question, it is in the best interests of the insurance company to settle. 
  • Do not lower your claim value or offer until the insurance company has made a counteroffer. If they request documentation to substantiate your accident claims, such as photos or medical records, send the information that you feel will best help your auto insurance claim.
  • Keep in mind that showing good faith during negotiations will move your auto insurance claim to settlement. Set the minimum you are willing to take. Understand that the insurance adjuster will start low to save the insurance company as much money as possible and avoid insurance fraud. Do not be offended or react emotionally to the process. Stay calm and professional throughout the negotiation process.

Reduce your auto insurance claim’s settlement demand gradually and the adjuster will likely come up on his offer. If you find yourself within an acceptable range, consider settling for a mutually agreed-upon amount. They will send you a check with a release form to sign. Once signed, that is it! Never sell yourself short by signing a settlement agreement that leaves you stuck with any outstanding medical bills. Make sure the settlement is an amount that covers your bills and adequately compensates you.

Remember:  Being unpleasant with the adjuster will not do you any good. If they are being difficult, take the high road and ask to speak to a supervisor or a different claims adjuster.

Reaching a Roadblock During Negotiations

If you find yourself at a roadblock and unable to settle your claim with your adjuster, you still have other options:

  • Ask to speak to the insurance adjuster’s supervisor. Be polite but firm, explaining that you sense a stalemate in negotiation and perhaps a fresh pair of eyes on your auto insurance claim may help to resolve this for both parties. Be prepared for pushback. However, if a supervisor is requested, the claim adjuster must comply. Move through the process with the supervisor, explaining that it is in both interests to get the claim resolved.
  • Write the State Department of Insurance. Call or write to the department of insurance for your state, especially if you find unjust delays in the negotiation process (weeks between offers). This could be deemed bad faith on the part of the insurance company. Copy any documentation you may have and outline your demand in writing and your reason for the complaint (delay in settlement, unjust or low balling offer, etc.)
  • Consider talking with or hiring an attorney. Speaking with an experienced car accident attorney will let you know if your claim’s value is in line and if you are on the right track. A car accident attorney can also negotiate all aspects of your claim and may help win you a larger overall settlement. If you engage an attorney, you must cease all communication with the insurance adjuster and refer him or her or any other communication to the attorney.
If you find that you are not moving towards the insurance settlement you need, consider contacting an attorney. A car accident attorney will step into your insurance claim and work with the insurance adjuster to achieve a fair insurance settlement.

What not to Say to an Insurance Adjuster

A few days after the accident, you will get a call from an insurance claims adjuster, and you need to be very careful what to say. It’s best to be prepared and know what to expect from the other party. Read on below for some tips on how to deal with an insurance adjuster.

  • Understand their role – insurance adjusters’ main goals are to prevent insurance fraud, settle claims for a low amount and quickly. So, when an insurance adjuster calls, it’s important to keep the conversation concise.
  • Don’t give lots of details about the accident – Before you talk to an insurance adjuster and mention that you did something wrong, make sure to speak to your lawyer because evidence might prove otherwise.
  • Don’t settle on the first offer – Insurance adjusters hope that you would settle for a lower amount of money, and they will purposefully propose a lower offer. This is so because they have allocated a specific amount of money for your claim. Try to negotiate a better offer because it will certainly get you more money.

How to Avoid a Rejected Claim

The first line of defense against a rejected insurance claim is to document every dollar spent or lost as a result of your accident. Medical bills, prescription receipts, mileage to and from the doctor, old paystubs that can verify your pay rate, car payment records, and repair estimates, will serve as proof of your damages.

Insurance adjusters will never, ever, just “take your word for it.” If the adjuster disputes your claim, provide him with the basis for your number. It is entirely possible that the adjuster’s file is incomplete or contains errors. Often, submission of supporting documents accompanied with a detailed letter outlining why the documents support the claim can be enough to get the adjuster to raise their settlement number.

There may come a time when you decide you need legal advice to work with your claims adjuster. To get help near you, enter your ZIP code now.