The Insurance Claims Process
Brian White | May 22, 2018 | Insurance Bad Faith
The more you know about the insurance claims process in Texas, the better prepared you will be for the ensuing conversations, paperwork, and settlement negotiations. Some insurance claims will be simple and straightforward, while others may involve complex litigation, insurance bad faith, extensive injuries, questions of fault, and/or other roadblocks to recovery. Contact an insurance bad faith attorney if you’re dealing with a particularly difficult insurance claim in Texas. Otherwise, follow this guide to understand and handle the claims process after a disaster.
Gather Important Information About Your Accident
During your initial conversation with an insurance company, the agent will ask you several questions you must answer. Before you make the call, prepare your answers by gathering a few details and facts about your case to present to the claims adjuster. In general, you will need the following information before talking to an insurance company:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Names of all parties involved
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
- Vehicle descriptions and license plate information, if applicable
- Descriptions of personal injuries and/or property damages
- Detailed account of what happened
If you suffered injuries, the insurer will likely request you undergo a medical examination from an approved doctor of the insurance company’s choice. If your claim involves property damage, you may also have to submit to a professional inspection and evaluation of the damage. The more information you collect about your accident, the smoother your conversation with an insurance agent will be.
Contact the Correct Insurance Company ASAP
Texas is a fault insurance state. This means that, in the event of an auto accident, victims will contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In no-fault states, on the other hand, victims go through their own insurers for compensation regardless of who caused the crash. You might need help from investigators to assign fault in your accident if the other driver refuses to admit fault, or if fault is not obvious. Keep in mind that someone other than the other driver could be liable for your accident, such as an auto part manufacturer, or the city.
For non-auto-accident related insurance claims, such as those involving natural disasters, you will file a first-party insurance claim instead of a third-party claim. A first-party insurance claim goes through your own insurer. You will need to file the claim with your insurance company if you were at fault for an accident or if it did not involve a third party’s negligence or fault. For both types of claims, do not delay in making your phone call. Most insurance companies have strict 24-hour or “as soon as possible” policies for claim reporting.
Calculate the Value of Your Claim
It’s important to get an unbiased, third-party evaluation of your damages from someone other than the insurance company’s investigators or claims adjusters. Insurance companies will try to save money by minimizing a claimant’s damages and recovery amounts. You may need an attorney’s assistance in calculating the true value of your claim. Talk to a lawyer before discussing your case with an insurance claims adjuster, if possible. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and avoid settling for less than you deserve.
Negotiate a Fair Insurance Settlement Award
Once the insurance company conducts an investigation of your accident, it will either deny your claim or accept it and offer a settlement award. At this point, you have a few options. You can file a civil claim against the insurance company for bad faith if it unfairly denied your claim, accept the initial settlement offer, or enter into negotiations for a higher settlement. A personal injury attorney can assist you with all of these processes, making sure you protect your best interests. A lawyer can also take your insurance claim to court if necessary for fair compensation. Contact our firm today for more insurance claim information.