When a person submits a claim letter to an insurance company, whether it’s for a car accident, medical malpractice, personal injury or other reason, the insurance company will respond with a first offer.
At this point, the claimant has the right to make a counter offer, and in most cases, this is the best thing to do. They can write a counter offer demand letter where they express their arguments in detail and include supporting documents.
The insurance company is not required by law to give a claimant a fair settlement. There are some adjusters who want to treat claimants fairly and some who take advantage of the claimant’s naiveté to offer a less than fair amount.
In most cases, the letter goes to the at-fault party’s insurance company to make it clear that the claimant suffered injuries because of the fault of the company’s insured person. The first letter will state the case and make a demand for compensation. The insurance company will respond with a lower offer.
The first offer given by the insurance company will most likely be very low and not be their last offer. They may purposefully make a low offer to see if the claimant knows what he or she is doing. This is why it is recommended to negotiate for a higher offer.
The claimant should decide on the lowest amount they have calculated is fair for their claim and keep it in mind during negotiations, but not reveal it to the insurance company. If the insurance adjuster’s first offer is very close to the claimant’s minimum amount, the claimant should adjust their expectations upward.
The aim of the insurance company is to find out if the claimant:
• Understands how the settlement process works
• Is too impatient to wait for a fair settlement
• Believes the adjuster when he or she says their authority is limited
• Is intimidated enough to accept a low offer
• Is serious enough to file a lawsuit
The letter can request that the insurance adjuster justify the low amount or provide proof that their assessment is incorrect. If the claimant wants, they can enter into negotiations and send several letters that gradually lower the amount they will accept. It is also important for the claimant to mention any emotional suffering. This will not have a dollar value, but it is strong support of a higher settlement.
Here is a sample counter offer letter. It should be written in formal business style and sent by certified mail, so the claimant has proof of the date and time the letter was received. If any documents are enclosed, they should be copies. Original documents should not be sent unless the insurance company specifically asks for them. In this case, the claimant should keep copies.
Sample Counter Offer Letter
City, State, Zip Code
Insurance Adjuster’s Name
Insurance Company’s Name
Insurance Company’s Address
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Counter Offer for Claim Number NUMBER
Dear Mr/Ms/ Last Name of Adjuster:
I have received your letter dated DATE, with your offer of a settlement for my personal injury case. I reviewed the contents of your letter regarding the facts of the claim and find that they are inaccurate. Because of this, your settlement offer is unacceptable.
Kindly review the facts of my claim. I have enclosed a copy of the police report that clearly states the facts of the car accident. The report states that on DATE I was riding my bicycle within the proper lane when your insured collided with me.
I was thrown to the ground and broke my arm. My bicycle was completely destroyed. At the scene, your insured was issued a citation for driving under the influence of alcohol.
I would appreciate it if you would review the facts of my claim and raise the settlement accordingly. I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and was treated there. I spent one night in the hospital. I have also enclosed copies of the ambulance report, doctor’s bill and hospital bill as well as the bill for a new bicycle.
Along with physical injury and suffering, I was unable to work for six weeks and required four more weeks of physical therapy. It has been an emotionally trying time for me through no fault of my own.
You have presented no evidence that is different from the evidence I provided to you. I researched other claims similar to mine and along with the bills, feel my original settlement claim request was fair.
However, I would be willing to reduce my settlement demand to AMOUNT in the hope that this can be settled quickly and fairly. I would prefer not to litigate this claim.
I can be reached at 555-123-4567 or at Name@email.com if you have any questions or require any more information. I hope to hear from you soon.
Signature of Claimant
Printed Name of Claimant
List of Enclosures