If you’re planning on handling your injury claim on your own, you need to know the risks that lie ahead and how to deal with them. We’d recommend you start by reading the most common insurance company tactics used to minimize your settlement. Below you’ll find some advice on getting through the claims process:
Get the medical care you need
If you’ve had a serious injury accident, you’ll probably need ongoing medical attention. Your health and wellbeing is too important to deny yourself the care you need. Don't forgo medical care, chiropractic treatments, and physical therapy because you don’t want to incur more expenses. It’s your insurance company’s responsibility to cover your expenses.
Document all contacts with your insurance company
You’ll have more than one phone conversation and email with the claims adjuster, as well as with other people at USAA. Keep a log of every call and follow up each one with a short letter or email outlining what steps the insurance company said they will be taking to settle your claim. If they later come up with another version of what was said, you’ll have documentation to show otherwise.
Keep your cool
Dealing with endless runarounds from an insurance company is enough to make anyone snap, but you need to stay calm in your interactions with them. If you give in to the temptation to give them a piece of your mind, you’ll give them an excuse to relegate your claim to the bottom of the pile.
Document all your expenses
You need to keep detailed information on what your auto accident has cost you, including ongoing medical care. You can also document your pain and suffering with photos of your injuries, pain medication prescriptions, and statements from your doctor or physical therapist. You should also include your transportation costs to and from medical appointments and any income you’ve lost by not being able to work.
Know what you’re up against
You may think the claims rep you speak with over the phone is the only person you’re dealing with at USAA Insurance, but there are dozens of upper-level employees and attorneys above the claims rep—all with strategies for minimizing the payout on your claim.
The most common tactic insurance companies use is to delay the claims process past the statute of limitations to prevent you from taking legal action against them. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for filing a suit against an insurance company is 3 years.
Three years may seem like a long time, but you’d be amazed how insurance companies can drag their feet on a claim. A lawsuit is the one bargaining chip you have in the claims process, so keep an eye on the calendar.