Secrets of Accident Claims Against GEICO Revealed
GEICO is the second-largest automobile insurance company in the U.S. GEICO handles nearly 14% of the auto insurance policies in America and collects over $33 billion in premiums every year. GEICO offers some of the cheapest car insurance rates in Oklahoma and insures about 50,000 drivers across the state.
But GEICO did not become one of the most profitable companies out there by paying claims quickly or fully.
Here are some things you should know about GEICO's accident claim process and the ways you and your lawyer can navigate it successfully.
The Accident Claim Process
Oklahoma is an at-fault insurance state. This means that after a car or motorcycle accident, you will file a claim with the insurer for the driver who caused the accident. As a result, you have no control over which insurance company will be the one to handle your claim.
The insurer will review your claim and determine whether its insured was negligent and, if so, how much your claim is worth. Most of the time, you and your injury lawyer will need to fight every step of the way to obtain compensation for your injuries. GEICO will put the burden on you to document the claim, negotiate a settlement, and even file a lawsuit.
The Secrets To Handling a GEICO Accident Claim
Every accident claim is different. Every claim adjuster is different. But GEICO's claim processing follows a general pattern.
Secret #1: GEICO Is Not on Your Side
GEICO has a financial interest to not pay your claim. Insurers collect premiums from their customers and set aside some of those premiums in a reserve. Claims are paid from that reserve.
The rest of the premiums are invested. The less GEICO pays in claims, the more it can invest. GEICO's financial interest is to pay as little as possible for claims.
As a result, GEICO will use any reason they can to deny or reduce claims.
Secret #2: You Do Not Need To Give a Recorded Statement
When you file a claim with GEICO, it will be assigned to a claim adjuster. The claim adjuster's job is to walk a line between paying legitimate claims and protecting GEICO's interests.
The claim adjuster will request a recorded statement from you. A recorded statement is exactly what it sounds like—the claim adjuster will ask you questions during a recorded phone call.
But a recorded statement could give GEICO ammunition to deny or reduce your claim. Even answering "I'm fine. How are you?" when a claim adjuster asks how you feel can be dangerous. This could give the claim adjuster the basis to say that your injuries have healed, were exaggerated, or were faked.
The claim adjuster will say that GEICO needs the recorded statement to process your claim. That is not the case. The claim adjuster will have police reports, medical records, and a statement from its insured to determine what happened.
If a claim adjuster insists on a recorded statement, you can deflect the claim adjuster and hire an injury lawyer to sit with you while you talk to the adjuster. A lawyer can coach you and make sure your answers do not put your claim in danger.
Secret #3: GEICO's First Offer Will Probably Be Very Low
Claim adjusters have a strategy. They will always start by making you a low offer. Sometimes, this offer is as low as 20% of your documented medical bills.
This gives the claim adjuster a couple of options:
- If you accept the offer, the claim adjuster has saved GEICO money by underpaying you.
- If you reject the offer, the claim adjuster has room to negotiate.
The low offer can be frustrating. But you can negotiate for a better settlement or even have your lawyer file a lawsuit to pressure GEICO into a fair offer.
Secret #4: Claim Adjusters Know How To Negotiate
Claim adjusters expect to negotiate, particularly when you have a lawyer. They know that your lawyer can assess the value of your case. They also know their first offer will not even approach a fair settlement.
Claim adjusters expect to have a few advantages in negotiating with you, including:
Claim adjusters know you have medical bills and may not be able to work while you recover from your injuries. You will be desperate for a settlement and could accept a low offer.
Claim adjusters will slow-walk a claim to place additional pressure on you. Unlike some states, Oklahoma does not impose time limits on insurance companies to process claims. Oklahoma law only requires that the insurance company have procedures for prompt settlement of claims. As a result, time is on the side of the insurer.
GEICO has all the time and resources in the world to negotiate. It does not need to settle the claim the way you need a settlement. This nonchalance can be frustrating, but it is meant to frustrate you so much that you accept a low settlement.
Fortunately, hiring a lawyer can keep negotiations moving along. For the most part, claim adjusters do not use these tactics on lawyers because they can match their skills for negotiation.
Secret #5: GEICO Does Not Want to Fight in Lawsuits
One of the benefits of hiring a lawyer is that the lawyer can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if negotiations with GEICO stall. GEICO must defend its customer. If liability for your accident is clear, this means that GEICO must fight a losing lawsuit.
Your lawyer can use this to your benefit. GEICO does not want to pay lawyers to lose. As a result, your lawyer can motivate GEICO to settle by filing a lawsuit against the driver.
Tips for Dealing with GEICO
To improve your chances of obtaining a fair settlement from GEICO, you should:
- Avoid contact with the claim adjuster
- Be patient during the process
- Hire a personal injury lawyer
Dealing with GEICO can be frustrating. But getting a fair settlement can help you pay your medical bills and make up for lost wages.