In this IssueFebruary 2009

  • Wait before Accepting Top Insurance Settlement Offer

Rhonda, a client of mine, recently said she wanted to accept the top offer from the insurance company instead of filing suit and seeing if there was any more money available from the insurance company. I asked Rhonda, “How many hours would you have to put in at work for an extra $1,000 cash?” Think about it. How many more hours would you, in your current job, have to work to get the extra fifteen hundred dollars that I felt we could achieve, even after the attorney’s fees. If someone makes $25 an hour times forty hours per week, that is $1,000 gross income. So in this example one would have to work about one week extra at their job to make up for the thousand dollars more in terms of an offer, just by waiting a few months. How would you feel about an extra week off of work? When Rhonda thought about it that way, she immediately decided to allow me to pursue the matter further by filing a lawsuit in order to see if we could get her more money. The gamble paid off and we did get an increased offer. Sometimes when times are hard you may think “I’ll take the top offer now, get it wrapped up, and I can have the money in thirty days”. However, if you consider how many more hours you would have to work just to get an extra one thousand dollars, after taxes, sometimes it makes the decision an easy one.

I do everything ethically possible to get the absolute top offer I can from the insurance company for you. I understand that sometimes you have a financial need that is urgent. Clients often tell me that their cars are being reposed or that they have a medical emergency at home that makes immediate money their top priority. However, if you are not in that situation, often it is better to wait a little longer to obtain an extra thousand or fifteen dollars in your case. Wouldn’t it be great if that happened in every case? Sadly, there is no absolute magic formula that always works. Sometimes the top offer of the insurance company really is THE top offer. Sometimes the insurance company actually decreases or withdraws an offer after a lawsuit is filed, although that is rare. The usual situation is that, by waiting a little bit longer we can get some more money for you. It is just something you should think about in evaluating any offers in your case.

Finally, the only thing I can say with certainty is that if I recommend you settle your case, I may be right or I may be wrong but you can be assured that I will give you my honest assessment of what is in your best interest. I wish I could tell you I was right every time I made a recommendation, but that wouldn’t be correct. Probably the best approach is for us to work together concerning the offer to make sure your comfort level feels good for you no matter what you decide to do.

  • Gap Insurance Recommended for Cars Loans

You may already know about Gap Insurance and how it can protect you when you finance a car. When you have your car totaled in a collision, the insurance company will pay you the Blue Book value for the car. But what if you financed that car? The terrible situation in financed car cases is that you lose your car because the insurance company requires title to it and you still owe the balance from the loan you took out to buy the car in the first place. Well, I recently had that situation in a new auto accident case I had. Thankfully the client purchased Gap Insurance coverage when he bought the car. The Gap Insurance covers the difference between what the insurance company totals the car for (Blue Book Value) and any outstanding amount owed on the loan. What makes it really great is that it is not very costly. Often times the Gap Insurance coverage on a more expensive car can be as low a $400 for the whole life of the loan.

I strongly urge you to consider buying this good cheap insurance if you are financing your car. Please talk to your agent or the bank that you get the loan from about this little understood, but incredibly helpful type of insurance. There you have it, for the first time ever, I have associated the words “insurance” and “good” in the same sentence. Maybe with this weather Hell really has frozen over!!!

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