While the rest of us are gearing up for the holidays and the season of giving, insurance companies and others with high stake liabilities have other priorities.
And trust me, they are not at all in the spirit of giving.
I see it every year, the acceptance rate of settlement offers speeds up right around the time of the holidays, and what might have previously been – for example a $10,000 settlement offer is suddenly upped to $11,000 or $12,000 to settle before the end of the year.
Plaintiffs, or those with the money and bills on the line think, “If I settle now, I’ll have cash in time for Christmas.”
Do not fall for this.
Insurance companies hope and prey on the fact that most people, especially those who are already living confined within their current means because of their case, will fall for the little extra cash that is being offered to them.
Meanwhile, with all of the circumstances of the case being accounted for, it is actually worth significantly more than what is being offered.
Do not make a long-term decision, like settling, based on short-term circumstances, like the holidays.
I implore you to think beyond today, tomorrow and the end of the year.
The Top 3 Insurance Company Ploys to Be on the Lookout for This Holiday Season
If you receive a settlement offer that is slightly more than what was previously being offered, look closely at the total of your medical bills and expenses before accepting. Consider the total amount of money you will actually take home after all bills, fees and expenses are paid. Regardless of the extra money they are offering, often it is still well below what the case is worth and should settle for. At the same time, be practical. Fighting for every last dollar versus the certainty of settlement and moving on with your life is also something to seriously consider.
If you have been waiting weeks, or months, and all of sudden you receive an offer to settle and the date is sometime in December, consider what is being offered very closely. Insurance companies want to get cases off of their books before the end of the year, but this should not alter your expectations and the settlement amount that is owed to you. Oftentimes, your attorney can use the insurance companys desire to settle at year-end to your advantage.
If you are offered an amount prior to trial and just before the end of the year, consider all of the points of your case before accepting. If an insurance company knows you have a solid case with clear liability and damages, they will opt to settle as soon as possible – but only when it is convenient for them and long before your case would go to trial. Make sure you consult with your attorney to come up with the best plan for you. Settling prematurely is often not in your best interest.
Public Service Announcement: Insurance companies make money by investing the premiums you pay and turning a profit on that money through investments. To avoid paying additional legal fees to their defense attorneys, especially in the instance of a potential trial case where they risk the chance of losing and owing additional funds, they will attempt to settle with you beforehand.
Remember this: Insurance companies only pay you when it is good timing for them. They will entice you with slightly higher offers in the hopes that you will accept the settlement amount based on emotional decision making, like trying to pay for Christmas.
Think Big Picture, and Beyond Christmas Day
The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year. Or, they can also feel like the worst, especially if you are in the midst of a lawsuit.
While it may be tempting to accept a quick settlement payment, it is important to realize that even if you settle several weeks before Christmas, on average, it will still take 20 days to receive funds. Which means, if you are settling solely to fund something short-term, like the holidays, you could be causing yourself additional financial hardship in the future.