You send an insurance claim letter to initiate settlement negotiations concerning your car accident injury claim. (Other names for an insurance claim letter are a “demand letter” or a “settlement letter.”)
In another article, I explained the contents of the insurance claim letter. In this article, I will explain the process of writing the letter and I will offer some tips and maybe a little “strategery.”
Writing an insurance claim letter is easier than you think.
You don’t have to be a great writer. You don’t need flowery, flowing prose. Verve. Or panache.
Clarity will do.
Just clearly tell the story of your accident and you will do fine.
I’ve written hundreds of these, maybe thousands, and I’ll be glad to walk you through the process.
Before Your Write Your Insurance Claim Letter
Before you start writing, you should do two things.
First, collect all of the relevant documents. I’m talking about all the medical records, medical bills, lost income statements, the police report, photographs of vehicles or injuries and anything else that documents your claim.
Hopefully, you assembled these in a settlement file as you progressed.
Second, you should review the journal that you should have been keeping while you recovered from your injuries. Remind yourself of all that you went through and all the effects of your injuries on you and others.
Having reviewed the documents, it’s time to write.
Outline Of An Insurance Claim Letter
This is an outline of the sections you should include in your insurance claim letter . . .
- I. Introduction
II. Liability: How The Accident Happened
- A. Injuries And Treatment
B. Financial Losses
- 1. Medical Bills
2. Lost Income
C. Non-Financial Losses – Pain And Suffering
IV. Conclusion And Demand
Check here for further discussion of the content of your demand letter.
Tips For Writing An Insurance Claim Letter
These are some of the things I have learned over my years of writing demand letters, often the hard way. I hope they help you.
- Tell a story. When you present your claim, you tell the story of your accident, starting with the crash itself and going through all of its consequences.
A great way to introduce your story, in the introduction to your insurance claim letter, is to give a 3-sentence (or so) summary of your story.
Here’s an example of a 3-sentence summary . . .
Before this accident, I was a happy and healthy 26-year-old who loved to run marathons. However, as a result of this accident, I have a permanent hip injury that keeps me from running any more than short distances. My life will never be the same.
Giving a powerful 3-sentence summary of your case early in your insurance claim letter can have great impact.
- Be strong, but don’t embellish. You lose credibility when you exaggerate.
- Don’t threaten, disparage or create a negative mood. It won’t be easy, but be as objective as possible. Why? Because it makes you more credible and persuasive.
- Keep your car accident claim letter focused. Don’t wander off on irrelevant tangents. Emphasize the most important parts of your story and don’t detract from them by adding unimportant information.
My practice is to write a first draft that includes everything that’s on my mind. Then, I go back – often more than once – and revise the letter. Normally, revision involves shortening the letter to make it stronger. Get rid of the extraneous thoughts and unnecessary words.
- Give the adjuster all the information and documentation she needs to evaluate your claim as high as possible. If you are not sure what information insurance adjusters consider, read this article about Colossus, a settlement valuation software that many insurance companies use.
- Demonstrate a mastery of the evidence in your case and an understanding of the claims process.
For example, know what the medical records say. And the police report. Explain anything in the records that appears to be inconsistent with your claim.
Showing that you know what you are doing will get you the best possible treatment by the insurance company, and the best possible result.