What to do if you disagree with an insurance settlement

Steps you can take to make it right

If you have received a settlement from your insurer, but you disagree with it. There are several ways you can seek satisfaction.

  • Talk to your agent or the claims manager at your insurance company

    Explain your side of the matter. Provide copies of supporting documents. Also, send a letter and documents to the claims executive at the insurance company's headquarters whose address is usually found on the first page of the policy.

  • Call the National Insurance Consumer Helpline

    If after hearing from your insurance company's claims executive, you still feel your claim hasn't been handled properly, call 800-942-4242. It is a toll-free consumer information telephone service sponsored by the insurance industry. Trained personnel and licensed agents are available to assist consumers who have complaints. The Helpline operates Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. ET.

  • Contact your state insurance department

    Explain the reasons for the disagreement to a consumer services representative at the department. He or she will discuss the matter with your insurer and help to resolve any difference so the claim can be settled

  • Consult an attorney

    The American Bar Association notes that many situations involving legal matters can be handled by consumers on their own, without a lawyer. If you do hire an attorney, provide them with a copy of your insurance policy and all other relevant documents. If the insurance company has made a settlement offer, tell your attorney about it and ask if he or she believes that a lawsuit will help you get a larger settlement, net of the attorney's fees.

    Attorneys usually work on an hourly rate, but with cases involving injuries, they generally work on a contingency basis. Get your attorney's fee structure in writing before you decide to pursue the case. If you hire an attorney, you will no longer talk directly with the insurance company. You can remain current on the progress of your claim by insisting that you receive copies from your attorney of all correspondence involving your case. Your attorney must have your agreement before committing to any settlement.