Jill Kolodner | December 21, 2020 | Car Accidents
GEICO is a massive car insurance company that currently boasts over 15 million customers. In fact, they are the second-largest insurance provider in the United States. The name GEICO stands for “Government Employees Insurance Company,” although they no longer cover only government employees.
You have probably seen one of their successful marketing campaigns on television, in print, or on the internet. Their commercials feature talking geckos, funny cavemen, and a camel reminding its coworkers that it is “hump day.”
While their ads can be funny, GEICO is a highly competitive insurance corporation that has very savvy methods for maximizing their profits. This typically involves paying claimants as little compensation as possible.
If you have been involved in a car accident, there is a good chance that you will have to file a claim with GEICO. This is because they provide coverage for over 27 million vehicles. When dealing with an enormous company like GEICO, it is best to have a legal professional represent your interests.
Below, we will reveal just a few ways in which GEICO works to maximize its profit and minimize your payments. When dealing with GEICO, keep these tips in mind.
Secret #1 – Do NOT Provide a Recorded Statement to GEICO
When you have been involved in a car crash, most insurance providers will request a recorded statement that details your version of events. GEICO is no exception. You should know that you are not legally required to submit a recorded statement to the insurance company.
Outside the context of litigation, GEICO has no right to a recorded conversation about your accident. In fact, most personal injury attorneys advise their clients against providing such a statement. GEICO will try to use the information you provide as a way to undermine your claim and minimize your financial recovery.
While most people are not aware of it, GEICO sometimes records the phone conversations that claimants have with their adjusters. In Maryland, it is illegal to record a conversation without the content of everyone involved. However, many states allow GEICO to record phone calls without the consent of the claimant.
Secret #2 – Do NOT Provide Too Much Information to GEICO
Whether they record your conversation or not, you should never provide GEICO with more information than is required. Instead, speak with a personal injury attorney. A legal professional will fight for your interests throughout the claims process.
After you have been involved in an auto accident involving GEICO policyholder, an adjuster will probably call you. They may ask you about a range of factors relating to the collision. Even a small and innocent misstatement may be used by GEICO against you. They will try as hard as they can to minimize the amount of compensation that you receive.
You should never discuss the following topics with a GEICO adjuster:
- The impact of your injuries on your daily life–including your pain levels, mental trauma, inability to engage in recreational activities, or other effects of the accident
- Your medical treatments or diagnoses
- The current cost of your medical care
- Missed work or lost wages
- What events led to the collision and what you were doing at the time of the crash
Most people think they are being helpful by discussing these topics with the adjuster. However, GEICO does not have your best interests in mind. They will use any reason to deny your claim or reduce your payment. If they cross the line, an attorney can help you file a bad faith insurance claim to right their wrongs.
Secret #3 – Do NOT Underestimate Your Claim
When you have been involved in a car crash, you might think that calculating the value of your claim is easy. Many people simply add their medical expenses to any costs for repairing their vehicle and submit a claim for the total.
Doing this greatly underestimates the value of your claim.
Below are some of the financial impacts that claimants often overlook:
- Projected Medical Expenses – Settling a car accident claim doesn’t magically heal your injuries. Many victims require months or years of continued medical treatment after the claims process has concluded. Therefore, it is important to include the expected costs of future medical care in the amount of financial recovery you seek.
- Lost Earnings and Earning Potential – If your injury has prevented you from working, your lost wages are relevant to your claim. Some car accident injuries prevent victims from working long-term or permanently. While GEICO will attempt to ignore or downplay these damages, it is important to add all of your current and expected future losses into your claim.
- Non-Economic Damages – Some of the damages from an injury are not easily calculated in monetary terms. Non-economic damages include factors like pain and suffering, mental trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life. These types of damages are incredibly significant, even though they can’t be easily quantified. Speaking with an experienced attorney will ensure that your claim appropriately accounts for all non-economic damages.
A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you to determine an appropriate settlement amount for your claim. GEICO should not be able to determine the amount that your injury is worth only on their terms.
Secret #4 – Do NOT Accept GEICO’s First Settlement Offer
Although this is less of a secret, it’s still important to know. GEICO wants you to accept their first settlement offer without realizing that it’s likely too low. The insurance provider’s goal is to minimize the cost to their company, which means paying you the lowest amount possible.
For this reason, the first offer that they make will probably greatly underestimate the actual value of your injury. Also, accepting GEICO’s first offer will make you subject to a settlement agreement that prevents you from seeking any additional compensation in the future.
It might seem simple to accept their initial offer and move on. But what happens when you realize that your injuries are worse than you first thought? The symptoms of brain injuries, for example, are not always apparent until months later. What happens when you continue to incur bills related to your accident after the claims process has concluded? Don’t let this happen.
Do not let GEICO underestimate the amount that you are rightfully owed. If you have been injured in an auto accident, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.