How to Write an Effective Car Insurance Demand Letter
As you work with your insurance company after a car accident, it is important that you know how to communicate with a well written demand letter. An effective insurance demand letter will be able to explain your accident, identify your injuries and treatment, value the cost of your damage and medical expenses, and point to reasons why the insurance company should pay. When writing a demand letter after a car accident, take the time to research your insurance policy and review the sample letters at the bottom of this page that can be tailored to fit your injury claim.
What to Include in Car Insurance Demand Letter
Before you send your insurance company a written communication, you will need to know what you should include in the letter. A successful demand letter will contain the following elements:
- A clear explanation of the physical facts of the accident. Start with the “5 W’s”: Who, What, When, Where and Why;
- A discussion of why the insured is at fault;
- A detailed description of any injuries, along with proof, such as medical records, photos or correspondence from physicians;
- Your medical expenses and any property damage or vehicle repair expenses, as documented by medical bills, insurance invoices and repair or replacement documentation. A description of other losses suffered, such as lost income, pain and suffering, missed vacations, trips or events (weddings, graduations, sales meetings, concerts, etc.);
- A total dollar value for settlement, encompassing your economic (medical bills, property repair, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. Make sure your demand is realistic; asking for outlandish amounts gives the impression you are looking for a windfall, not to be made whole. A well-reasoned and well-supported demand will be taken far more seriously than a demand for an excessive amount of money.
Writing an insurance demand letter does not need to be complicated, but it does need to present your argument clearly. You do not need to get into details that are not important, simply focus on the facts of the accident, the language of the insurance policy, and the value of your claim.
NOTE: It is possible to write and submit a demand letter without the assistance of an attorney. If you feel like your insurance company has not treated you fairly, you can respond with a well written letter supported by evidence before getting a lawyer involved.
How to Write Your Insurance Demand Letter
The most important thing about writing a good insurance demand letter is keeping it short, sweet, and to the point. You do not need to go into unnecessary detail, and instead should write clear and focused statements that cover the following elements of your claim:
- Car accident fault. Immediately and unequivocally indicate that the adjuster’s insured is at fault for your injuries and damages. Use police reports, accident photos, witness statements, and any other available evidence to hammer your point home. If the driving record of the at-fault driver is bad or shows a pattern of negligence, include it if you can. It could further legitimatize the value of your claim.
- Your injury information. Explain your injuries and your treatment, and then provide documentation of your claims. Include medical records or correspondence from your treating physicians. The medical records should detail any disability-- partial or total—and the duration thereof, and whether the injuries may result in any long-term effects. If you are unable to perform certain functions, such as bathing or dressing, have the doctor include that in his/her report. If your physical problems persist such that your treatment is ongoing, make sure your medical records indicate as much, and offer to supplement your records as you continue to receive treatment.
- Your damages. Attach a complete list of any and all losses and expenses; include any evidence (tangible or descriptive) that supports your claims of pain and suffering. When possible, provide proof of the expenses or losses.
- Demand the full value. Finish your letter with the total amount you are demanding the insurance company pay. You can reference sections of your policy you believe are appropriate, but do not have to. Keep your demand concise and be sure to include the full value of
When you have outlined the elements that you are planning on addressing in your insurance demand letter, take a few other style tips into consideration:
- Use language to your advantage. While you should not exaggerate your injuries or the accident, using phrases such as “the car slammed into me” rather than “the car hit me” can emphasize the seriousness of your accident.
- Give detail about your injuries and treatment. Going into detail about the medication, diagnosis, and ongoing treatment needs reinforces how serious your injuries are. Saying “I missed 4 days of work due to severe pain that prevented me from sleeping and performing my duties as a construction worker” is stronger than saying “I could not sleep and missed four days of work.”
- Support your demand letter with documentation: Send copies of all bills, invoices and medical records. Keep the originals. If your claim is strong, reasonable, and documented, the chances are high you will get the money owed to you.
If you feel like you are unable to write a letter you are confident with, or have a serious injury, you can review your case with an attorney prior to submitting a letter to the insurance company.
Sample Insurance Demand Letters
Below are two sample demand letters that can be used to initiate the claims process. Revise or rewrite them to fit your situation.
Sample Car Accident Demand Letter for Minor Injuries
January 1, 2015
NoName Insurance Company
Mr. Joe Adjuster
12345 Any Street
Hometown, CA 91111
Re: Terri T’Boned
Claim Number: 123-4567
Name of Insured: Mr. Henry HitMyCar
Date of Loss: December 21, 2014
Dear Mr. Adjuster:
On December 21, 2014, I was struck by your insured, Mr. Henry HitMyCar. Mr. HitMyCar negligently struck my 2010 Honda Accord at the corner of Oak Street and 14 th Avenue in MyTown, CA, causing injuries to both my person and my car. Mr. HitMyCar, driving a red 2000 Toyota Camry, illegally turned right while at a red light, and crashed into my passenger side door. The enclosed police report confirms Mr. HitMyCar was at fault; he was cited for the accident. Please consider this correspondence a formal demand for settlement of the instant claim.
With regard to the damage to my car, I’ve attached photographs showing the damage. Repairs have totaled $1,500.00. I’ve attached a copy of the repair invoice for your file
I sought treatment at MyTown Hospital’s emergency room immediately after the crash and was diagnosed with soft tissue damage to my neck and shoulder area. As a result of your insured’s negligence, I experienced severe head and neck pain for several days. Doctors prescribed Vicodin for my pain and ordered me to rest for the next few days.
As a result of my severe pain, I was unable to attend a Rolling Stones concert for which I had purchased tickets. I also canceled my non-refundable Sunday morning tee-time at Nice Resort Golf.
My monetary losses stemming from your insured’s negligence are as follows: (All documentation attached.)
- $1,500 in damage to my car
- $500 for ER visit
- $100 for prescription Vicodin
- $250 for my Rolling Stones concert tickets
- $85 cancellation fee at Nice Resort Golf
In addition to the losses detailed above, I was in extreme pain for several days, and as such believe that I should be compensated in the amount of $565. Please consider this correspondence a formal demand for compensation in the amount of $3,000 for any and all losses caused by your insured’s negligence. I’d kindly ask that you respond to this demand—in writing—within 15 days. Failure to do so will result in the initiation of formal legal proceedings. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
FixMyCar Garage, Car Repair Estimate, December 23, 2014
MyTown Hospital ER, Invoice for Services, December 21, 2014
MyTown Pharmacy, Receipt for Vicodin Prescription, December 21, 2014
TicketMaestro Receipt for Rolling Stones Concert, December 22, 2014
MyCreditCard Statement, Cancellation Fee Charge of $85 from Nice Resort GolfSource: accident-law.freeadvice.com