Iowa law requires all drivers to show proof of financial responsibility after a car crash. For most drivers, this means auto insurance. While auto insurance is intended to protect victims of car and truck accidents—allowing injured drivers to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company—insurance claims aren’t always as straightforward as they should be.
Here are five car insurance claim myths that all Des Moines drivers should know:
1. Your Insurance Will Cover Your Costs if the Other Driver Can’t
While all drivers are required to carry proof of financial responsibility in Iowa, many don’t. What this means for you is that sometimes, when another driver causes an accident, he or she has no means of paying for damages. Unfortunately, an at-fault driver’s lack of insurance/financial responsibility does not mean that your insurance will kick in and help you out.
In fact, you may not get any money from your insurance company unless you added one of the following optional elements to your car insurance plan.
- Uninsured/underinsured (UIM) driver
- Medical payments coverage
2. You’ll Get the Blue Book Value for Your Totaled Vehicle
Another common myth is that when a vehicle is considered 'totaled' (total loss) in an accident, you’ll get its Blue Book value. The truth is; an insurance company's obligation is only to pay for your vehicle’s actual value (as a used car) pre-crash.
By evaluating your car at that point in time, the amount that you get might not only be less than the Blue Book value of the car, but also less than what’s necessary to buy a new vehicle.
3. The Insurance Adjuster is on Your Side
Many people believe that since they 'hired' their insurance company, it works for them and thus will uphold their best interests. However, insurance adjusters are often on the hunt for any signs that you did something wrong during the accident, which they can use against you to reduce your benefits amount.
Reducing your payout keeps their bottom line low, which is what their primary goal is, as a profit-earning company. As such, never sign anything an insurance adjuster asks you to, and never make any admission or guilt or fault for the accident. Think about your Iowa car accident story.
4. You’ll Always Get Your Full Settlement Amount
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be provided your full settlement amount the first time around. Rather, most insurance companies will offer you far less than what you’re entitled, again, to see if they can cut corners and benefit their company. Never accept a settlement amount without discussing your claim with an attorney first.
5. You Can File a Claim on Your Own
While there’s no legal requirement that says that you have to have an attorney on your side to file a claim, filing a claim without a legal professional may result in a lower compensation amount than you would otherwise get.
To prove the fault of the other driver, negotiate a fair amount, and explore your other payment options—such as a lawsuit—contact an attorney. At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, we’re ready to represent you. Call us at 888-435-9886 today.