How do you settle a car accident with an insurance company?

I was t-boned in an intersection last week. I've been on the phone with the other driver's insurance for the past few days. I don't want to make a mistake or settle for less than I'm owed. How do I settle with the insurance company?

Answer
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed after an accident is completely normal! The situation often seems out of your hands and not wanting to settle for less than your owed is a common worry. Fortunately, you can follow a few steps when settling with a car insurance to maximize your settlement.
First, collect all your documentation and proof relating to the accident. Provide the insurance company things like:
  • Doctor or hospital bills
  • Repair estimates
  • Actual cash value of your vehicle if it’s totaled
  • Police report, if filed
  • Lost work or time due to injuries or accident
  • Photos of car and damage
Documentation or proof can help a claims adjuster see how much pain, suffering, or damages an accident has caused, which will help you get a fair settlement amount.
After collecting your documentation, have an idea of the amount you’re looking to settle for. If your car is a total loss, do some research on the Kelley Blue Book or a similar site to see what the value of your car is. Along with any other injuries or bills you may have, you can decide what you would be comfortable settling for.
Many experts recommend that you reject the first offer a claims adjuster makes. By doing so, the claims adjuster will come back with a counteroffer, which will ideally be the amount you’re comfortable settling for.
If you feel overwhelmed by the process, hire an attorney. Some lawyers specialize in car accidents and claims. They can help you negotiate with a company, but they also take a portion of your settlement for their fees.
Should your car insurance rates increase after your accident, use Jerry. Jerry is an app that collects the top insurance rates from up to 50 providers in seconds!
Emily Maracle
Answered on Oct 25, 2021
Emily Maracle is a car insurance specialist living in New York. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she has a degree in English Literature and a background in customer service. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and living sustainably. In the future, she can't wait to upgrade to a hybrid or electric car.
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