5 Tips for Negotiating with an Insurance Adjuster

If your property has been damaged and you file a claim, you may think like most people that one of two outcomes are possible. First, the insurance company will offer you a reasonable amount for your claim and you accept it. Or the second option, which is you will have to sue the insurance company in order to get what you are entitled to. The reality is, however, that in most cases you will actually have to negotiate with an insurance adjuster to try to get the best settlement offer possible.

When you negotiate properly, you can end up with thousands of dollars more than would otherwise be possible. With this in mind, we have put together several proven tips to help those who are, or may soon be, negotiating with an insurance adjuster.

Present Your Claim in the Worst-case Scenario

When filing your claim you need to make sure you do it with the understanding that the insurance adjuster is going to try to pay the least amount possible on your claim. If you tell the insurance company what you “think” it’s going to cost, they may pay you that amount leaving you with insufficient funds to make the actual repairs. The best practice is to reach out to different contractors, handymen, or adjusters to obtain different estimates for your claim. Then, present your claim accounting for all repairs necessary to put your home in its pre-loss condition. While you should never lie on an insurance claim (that’s fraud!), you can choose the high end of a reasonable range of value for everything included in your claim.

Have a Minimum Acceptable Amount in Mind

Prior to any negotiations, make sure you have a minimum amount that you would accept. That doesn’t mean that is all you’re going to get, but if you can’t negotiate your way up to that amount, you can take the claim to appraisal, mediation or court. This can help give you a base level to build on.

Never Accept the First Offer

Even your insurance adjuster doesn’t expect you to accept the first offer that they make. They will always make a low-ball offer in hopes that at least some people will accept it, saving their company thousands of dollars. It is almost never a good idea to even consider their first offer, even if you think it is actually a fair amount. If you choose to accept any payment, be careful depositing your check: some insurance companies include language which states that by endorsing check you agree with their adjustment and final resolution of the claim.

Ask the Adjuster to Explain their Offers

When the insurance adjuster makes an offer (or a counter officer) ask them to explain how they came up with that number. Have them break it down and show exactly how they arrived at their number, and make sure to call them out on any inaccuracies. For example, if part of your claim includes a privacy fence that was damaged and they only offer to pay for the specific section that was broken, remind them that they are responsible for ensuring the whole fence matches. This may mean replacing, or at least repainting, the whole thing. Painting only part of a wall instead of all continuous walls will likely leave the newly painted wall look different from the adjacent continuous walls.

Work with an Experienced Attorney

In the end, the reality is that not everyone is going to be a strong negotiator. You need to understand that the insurance companies hire skilled negotiators to try to keep their payout amounts as low as possible. If you aren’t comfortable with these types of situations, or you simply don’t have the experience, consider hiring an experienced attorney. Contact Barnard Law Offices to speak with an attorney about your situation today.

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Barnard Law Offices

The Barnard Law Offices, L.P. has been protecting the rights of Floridians for four generations. Together our attorneys bring years of insurance claim advocacy and trial experience to the table. We don’t believe in half-hearted measures when it comes to proving your claim: after inspecting the damage to your property, our office will engage or connect you with high-quality third-party professionals to assist you with your claim and assess your property damage. Our talented team is dedicated to serving each client’s needs with a passion and commitment that makes us stand out among our peers.

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