How do I negotiate a wreck settlement with a car insurance company?

Negotiating an insurance settlement is made easier by saving all documentation from repair bills, medical bills, and time missed from work. As a general rule, you should not accept the first offer. You can also hire an attorney to assist you.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Can you negotiate with insurance companies? When negotiating a settlement with a car insurance company, it’s important to save and include documentation from all repair bills, medical bills, and time missed from work
  • You may need to hire an attorney to assist you in the negotiations process
  • As a general rule, you should not accept the first offer from an adjuster
  • As a last result, you can sue the insurance company for proper compensation

Negotiating an auto wreck settlement with a car insurance company can be an arduous process and one that can seem overwhelming for those without experience.

How do you respond to a low offer? While it’s often a good idea to hire an attorney who understands the ins and outs of negotiation, the fact remains that the average driver can come to a successful settlement as long as he’s done his research and has provided full documentation in support of his claims.

Read on for some tips on negotiating with auto insurance companies for a car wreck settlement offer and then be sure to enter your zip above to get your free car insurance comparison!

Careful Record-Keeping is Critical


You will need to be in possession of all relevant documentation in preparation for your negotiation. Such documents include:

  • medical reports
  • medical bills
  • proof of time off from work
  • car repair bills or quotes
  • rental car bills

There could be much more, depending on the severity of your claim. (Note: the larger the claim, the more likely it is that you should employ an attorney to help you reap maximum benefits from any settlement.)

There should be documentation to support everything you said in your statement to the car insurance adjuster.

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Determine How Much You are Seeking in Damages


All your documentation should leave you with a solid monetary figure that you will want to recoup from the insurance company. Additionally, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, a more general term to which you will have to apply a suitable value.

A demand letter addressed to the insurance company is one way to present your claim to the insurance company. This letter outlines the facts of the auto wreck, specifies liability, and details all injuries, expenses, and special considerations.

It concludes with the amount you have determined your claim is worth. Upon receipt of the demand letter, your adjuster will eventually get back to you with a counter-offer.

In the absence of a demand letter, waiting for the adjuster to make the first move is another way to go about the start of negotiations.

Let the Negotiations Begin

There may be multiple rounds of negotiation as the adjuster works to settle for as little money as possible while you endeavor to receive fair compensation for the injuries and expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

One thing you can be sure of is that the adjuster’s initial offer will be at the lowest end of the amount s/he has been authorized to pay out for the wreck.

For this reason, it is unwise to accept the first offer. In the best of situations, a few rounds of counter offers will yield the results you are looking for.

If the negotiations stagnate, you will need to try new tactics. Remember that the adjuster has a specific range that she is authorized to pay out; it may get to the point that she is not allowed to go any higher.

If that is the case, you may consider asking to speak with the adjuster’s superiors in an effort to convince them of the value of your case. You may also enlist the aid of an attorney to advise you on your case, or you can hire one to take over the negotiations for you.

Other options include alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation and the filing of a complaint with the state body governing insurance.

What To Do If Your Claim is Denied

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being denied compensation for damages received in an auto wreck, there are several safeguards put in place by the insurance company, the state, and the federal government.

The state-sanctioned guiding principle as it relates to car insurance settlements is that each and every insurance company must settle your car insurance claim fairly, promptly, and in good faith.

  • Write a letter – Your first action should be to respond in writing to the car insurance company with details as to why you believe they made an error in denying your claim. As you’ve been doing throughout, be sure to include all documentation supporting the statements you make in the letter.
  • Hire a professional – Depending on how serious you are about overturning the denial, it might be a good idea to bring in a professional with legal expertise in this area. Attorneys specializing in insurance and bad faith can guide you through the process based on years of experience.
  • Sue the insurance company – If the attorney goes back to the insurance company and is unable to reach a settlement, a final method of recourse is to sue the insurance company itself for bad faith or other state violations.

Having a car insurance company you can trust will be a significant source of relief if you ever have to negotiate an auto wreck settlement.

If you are looking for a new car insurance company with a good reputation, the online quote comparison tool will help you find the best company for the best price. Compare quotes today!

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