One of the most widely-used auto insurance companies in the region and in the U.S. as a whole is GEICO. Famous for its witty commercials and catchphrases, GEICO has quickly become the second-largest auto insurance company in the country, according to Value Penguin, with 13% of the market and nearly $30 billion in premiums received every year.
GEICO's popularity comes from its marketing and its low cost of insurance. However, it is a successful company in spite of these expenses because of how aggressively it fights claims and minimizes the amount it pays out to cover accidents. Many claims that involve GEICO turn into fights for the compensation that you deserve. Hiring a personal injury lawyer from Gilman & Bedigian shows that you mean business and that you will not settle for a lowball offer.
GEICO's Insurance Claims Process
The insurance claims process with GEICO, as with all other auto insurance companies, begins with the accident. If you are insured by GEICO, you can file a claim by calling their claims representative or by filing the claim online. They will send a claims adjuster to the repair shop currently housing your vehicle or to the car's current location. The adjuster's inspection typically takes less than an hour and ends with an estimate of the costs of repairing your property damage. However, if there was a dispute about who was at fault for the crash or if there were personal injuries sustained in a collision, then this inspection process can take longer.
After the inspection by the insurance adjuster, GEICO claims that you will get a check of reimbursement money within 48 hours. This check, though, is nothing more than GEICO's initial settlement offer. Unlike what the insurance company claims, the initial settlement offer is designed to make victims of a car accident feel satisfied, while also maximizing GEICO's profit by paying out as little as it possibly can.
And this is only assuming you are offered a settlement. GEICO has also been known to aggressively deny insurance claims that might not be covered on your policy. Claim denials can skip the rest of the process and go straight to the lawsuit stage.
GEICO's Initial Settlement Offer, Compared to Competitors
All insurance companies utilize their initial settlement offer to lowball accident victims and protect their coffers by only paying a fraction of the costs of the damage. They are, after all, for-profit companies that exist to bring in as much money as possible – for insurance companies this comes in the form of premium payments from customers – while minimizing their expenses.
For GEICO, which has some of the lowest auto insurance premium rates on the market, keeping expenses down is essential for their business model. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that GEICO is notorious for making initial settlement offers that are shockingly low when compared to the true value of the claim and to what other insurance companies would offer in similar circumstances.
Initial Offers are Meant to Seem Enticing
The amount of the initial settlement offer and even the circumstances that lead up to the check being handed to you are designed to make the offer seem enticing and as if it will be all that you will get. GEICO employs insurance claims adjusters who are often quiet and modest and who seem to be genuine: GEICO customers often feel like the adjusters are looking out for their interests and are giving them every benefit of the doubt to offer the highest amount possible in the initial settlement.
Some customers can feel guilty if they do not take the initial settlement offer, and this is exactly what GEICO wants. Even those who try negotiating with the insurance adjusters can find themselves getting nowhere, fast – GEICO's settlement offer tends not to move very much, even in the face of clear evidence that you deserve more.
Filing a Lawsuit for Low and Denied Claims
If the settlement offer was low or if your claim was denied outright, the next step is often to file a lawsuit. Only after filing a lawsuit against GEICO can you expect to see a noticeable increase in the amount of the settlement offer, or will there be any significant movement to investigate or reconsider a claim denial.
Most of the lawsuits that are filed against GEICO are handled by their in-house legal department. This in-house legal department is massive, even for a large insurance company, and represents GEICO's interest in fighting against most claims against it for compensation after a car crash. When the lawsuit is for a substantial amount of money – if there were life-altering personal injuries that will require hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, alone – GEICO has been known to bring in outside law firms to fight the claim, and even hire expert witnesses to challenge your expenses.
Lawyers from Gilman & Bedigian Can Help You Fight GEICO for Compensation
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you need to focus on recovering from the incident and getting better if you have been hurt. However, once the dust settles, it is only natural for you to start worrying about who will pay for the costs of the accident.
In a perfect world, insurance companies would come riding in to the rescue, like they promise to do in all of their commercials. Instead, though, they often deny coverage, challenge the extent of your losses, and do all they can to minimize the amount of compensation they pay out, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that they promised to cover the damage in your insurance policy.
GEICO is no exception. In fact, it is one of the more difficult insurance companies to recover coverage from under your insurance policy, especially before filing a lawsuit.
Throughout the process, having legal representation from the personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can drastically reduce the stress you go through, and can increase the amount you stand to recover. Contact us online as soon as you can after the incident to get the legal help you need.