Insider Secrets for GEICO Accident Claims

GEICO (“Government Employees Insurance Company”) is the second-largest consumer auto insurer with over 15 million insured drivers.

Dealing with the GEICO claims adjuster can be challenging.  Our lawyers want to make it easier for you. This post provides top insider secrets for dealing effectively with GEICO on accident claims and looks at settlement amounts you can expect in GEICO claims.

If you have a GEICO claim and want a lawyer who will maximize your settlement amount, call us today at 800-553-8082 or contact us online. 

GEICO SECRET #1: Be Wary of GEICO Claims Adjusters

If you are handling an accident claim with GEICO, your main point of contact will be a GEICO claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is the GEICO representative responsible for processing and administering your claim.

When you bring a GEICO claim, one of the adjuster’s primary responsibilities is to investigate the facts of your claim. This means you will spend a lot of time talking to the GEICO adjuster and answering questions about the accident. Claims adjusters are often very personable, and it may even seem like they are trying to help you or on your side.

Our top insider tip when dealing with a GEICO claims adjuster is to be careful about what you say to the adjuster about the accident.  The best version of wary would be to say nothing at all unless required by law or contract to give a statement.

No matter how amicable they may seem when you talk to them, the claims adjuster is looking out for GEICO, not for you. They are looking for ways to deny your claim or limit the amount GEICO pays on your claim. Everything you say to them can be used against you.

If you want your claim processed, you must provide certain basic facts about yourself and the accident to the GEICO claims adjuster. You can’t simply refuse to talk to them at all (unless you hire a lawyer to handle your claim). Beyond the basic facts of your claim, however, you should avoid telling the adjuster anything else. There are certain subjects you should NEVER discuss with the GEICO claims adjuster, including:

  • Never take any blame or accept responsibility for causing the accident.
  • Don’t tell the adjuster anything upfront about your medical diagnosis or treatment
  • Do not give the adjuster a total of your medical expenses or lost income
  • Avoid any discussion of how your injuries have impacted your life (e.g., limited recreational activities, chronic pain, etc.)

Your accident lawyer can address these subjects in detail and provide evidence to support them later in the claim process. If you talk about these topics to the GEICO adjuster upfront,  it might come back to bite you later on.

For example, let’s say you tell the GEICO adjuster that you only missed days of work, but then at your next doctor’s visit, you find out that you need surgery and will miss two months. The GEICO adjuster will try to limit your claim to the five days that you initially told them.

GEICO SECRET #2: Don’t Agree to a Recorded Statement

At some point early on in the claim process, GEICO will ask you to provide an official statement and answer questions that are recorded on video or audio. Claimants frequently assume this is an obligation and agree with little thought. The truth, however, is that claimants have no legal obligation to provide a recorded statement.

Giving a recorded statement can only hurt your claim and does not benefit you. Not one bit.  Agreeing to provide a recorded statement about the accident just gives GEICO ammunition they will use against you. The adjuster will identify bits and pieces of your recorded statement and cite them as “evidence” to deny or reduce your settlement payout.

GEICO claims adjusters are often very aggressive in pursuing a recorded statement. They might insist that you are legally obligated to provide a recorded statement. This is absolutely NOT true if GEICO is not your own insurance company (and it varies in that instance by state).  Now, they will not specifically tell you there is an obligation.  But they might imply it.

No law (in any state) obligates claimants in an auto accident to provide a recorded statement unless the case is in litigation (i.e., you file a lawsuit against the other driver) in a third party case where you are not suing your own insurance company.

GEICO SECRET #3: Your Medical Bills May Get Ignored

tips for geico claimsAs part of the GEICO claim process, you will be asked to submit copies of all bills for medical treatment related to injuries suffered in the accident.

This is because you are legally entitled to compensation for the cost of medical expenses related to the accident. Most people quite reasonably assume that if they submit two months of medical bills and the charges on the bills add up to $5,000, GEICO will simply reimburse them for the full $5,000.

This is not what happens. GEICO (along with many other insurance companies) does not simply agree to cover the invoiced amount on the medical bill. In fact, they will usually ignore the amount charged by the provider and only agree to cover what they consider “usual and customary charges” for the service. This can have a meaningful impact on the amount of your GEICO settlement check when all is said and done.

Because what this means is that GEICO will not only challenge the amount that the medical provider billed for the treatment in a bodily injury claim, but they will also question whether the treatment was medically necessary. For example, let’s say you submit medical bills for ten physical therapy sessions at a cost of $500 per session. GEICO may come back and say that you only needed six sessions and that they will only cover the “customary rate” of $250 per session.

Many claimants assume that there is nothing they can do about this and end up accepting GEICO’s reduced offer for medical expenses.

The reality, however, is that GEICO is not entitled to force this on you. If you hire an accident lawyer and take your claim to court, you can force GEICO to cover the full amount of your ACTUAL medical expenses.

GEICO SECRET #4: Don’t Undervalue Your Claim

Many people undervalue their accident claims because they simply add up their medical bills and the car repair invoice and assume that is the total amount of their claim.

If you do this, you are significantly undervaluing your claim because you are legally entitled to more than just your medical expenses and property damage.

When you are injured in an auto accident, you are legally entitled to compensation for the following types of damages:

  • Past Medical Expenses: this is one most people get, and it’s usually covered by your medical bills.
  • Future Medical Expenses: most people don’t even realize that they are entitled to compensation for the cost of future medical treatment that you will reasonably require in the future. This can be a big-ticket item in many claims, but if you only include your existing medical bills, it will be left out of the claim.
  • Lost Income: if you cannot work for a period of time due to injuries you suffered in the car accident, you are legally entitled to compensation for your lost income or lost wages. This includes past and future lost wages. This is another item of damages that people often leave out when handling their own claims.
  • Pain & Suffering: in addition to the cost of medical treatment, tort law entitles accident victims to receive financial compensation for pain and mental suffering caused by their physical injuries. This can be a significant component of the total damages in some cases. Calculating pain and suffering damages can be tricky and somewhat subjective, but insurance companies usually calculate pain and suffering (to be about 1/3 of the total medical expenses.

If you leave any of these elements of damages out of your initial claim or demand, don’t expect GEICO’s claim adjuster to mention anything. If you are handling your own claim, the adjuster is probably expecting you to leave out certain things like future medical expenses or pain & suffering.

GEICO SECRET #5: Never Accept the First Settlement Offer

GEICO claims adjusters are notorious for making lowball first settlement offers on pretty much all accident claims. The first settlement offer you get from a GEICO adjuster is usually extremely low, sometimes half of the claim’s true value.

The adjusters realize that some claimants are desperate to get paid on their claims as soon as possible. They dangle lowball initial settlement offers out like bait in the hopes that a certain percentage of claimants will jump on any GEICO settlement check they can get. Even if that describes you, that does not mean you want to telegraph to them that you are desperate for a settlement.

If you accept GEICO’s first offer to settle your claim, you will leave money on the table. The only way to get anything close to full and fair value from GEICO in a claim settlement when dealing with their pre-suit claim adjuster is to reject their initial offer and threaten them with litigation. After the first settlement offer is rejected, GEICO always comes back with a second settlement offer that is significantly higher.

GEICO SECRET #6: Don’t Be Afraid to File a Lawsuit

The GEICO claims process assumes you will not file a lawsuit.  So the only effective way to force GEICO to make a fair settlement offer on your claim in many cases is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Filing a legal action against the insurance company’s driver in an auto accident case always increases the pressure on the adjuster. This is particularly true, however, when dealing with a GEICO claims adjuster on an accident claim. More than most insurance companies, settlement amounts increase after a lawsuit is filed.

If you reject GEICO’s lowball first settlement offer and file a lawsuit against their insured driver, the GEICO adjuster will rapidly change their position on the claim. The case typically gets reassigned to a new GEICO claims adjuster. The new adjuster almost always comes in and makes a second, slightly better settlement offer on your claim. If you continue to litigate the case and get closer to trial, you can expect an even better settlement offer.

GEICO SECRET #7: Don’t Let GEICO Define the Value of Your Claim

GEICO takes advantage of anchoring.  The concept of anchoring in negotiations, including insurance settlements, is rooted in cognitive psychology. Anchoring occurs when an individual relies too heavily on an initial piece of information (the “anchor”) to make subsequent judgments or decisions. Once an anchor is set, other offers and counteroffers are evaluated in relation to this anchor rather than based on the intrinsic value or merits of the case.

When an insurance company like GEICO makes a low initial offer on a claim, it intentionally sets a psychological anchor in the plaintiff’s mind. A low initial offer introduces doubt in the plaintiff’s mind about the strength of their case or the likelihood of achieving a higher payout. This psychological tactic leverages the uncertainty and stress of legal disputes, potentially leading plaintiffs to question their expectations and accept lower settlements out of fear or frustration.

Don’t fall into this trap. Figure out what you think the settlement amount of your GEICO claim should be before you receive an offer.  Does that mean you should never change your mind about the settlement compensation of your cases?  Of course not. But remember, if you lower your expectations, why that might have happened.

GEICO Settlements & Verdicts

Below are summaries of recent verdicts and reported settlements in accident cases in which GEICO was one of the insurance companies involved in the case or a direct defendant.

Do these tell you the settlement amount you should expect from GEICO for your case?  Of course not.

  • $256,860 Verdict (Florida 2024): The  plaintiff was rear-ended while attempting to make a left turn, resulting in significant injuries, including herniated discs at multiple levels of the spine. Despite admitting liability, the defense contended that the injuries were minor and should have resolved within two months, attributing ongoing symptoms to pre-existing conditions. After a four-day trial and three hours of deliberation, the jury awarded the plaintiff damages for past and future medical costs totaling $256,860. The plaintiff had undergone extensive treatments including chiropractic care, physical therapy, and multiple epidural steroid injections, with further treatments anticipated.
  • $304,500 Verdict (Washington 2023):  The defendant rear-ended the plaintiffs.  The collision led to significant neck and back injuries for the plaintiff, specifically herniated discs in both the cervical and lumbar spine. Additionally he made a “successful claim” for loss of consortium for $4,500 due to the impact the injuries had on their spousal relationship.
  • $25,000 Settlement (New Jersey 2023): The plaintiff, a minor, suffered a torn left shoulder, a fractured tibia, and bulging disc injuries when another vehicle negligently made a left turn in front of him without yielding. After settling with the at-fault driver’s insurance company (presumably for policy limits), the plaintiff sought additional damages under his UIM coverage with GEICO. As usual, the GEICO claims specialist lowballed the victim, waiting until right before the case was set to trial to offer a reasonable settlement check.
    $16,132 Verdict (Oregon 2023): GEICO’s insured driver hit the plaintiff from behind. The Plaintiff claimed various injuries including cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy; intervertebral thoracic disc displacement, cervical, thoracic and lumbar sprains/strains with muscle spasms; and headaches. GEICO insurance claims refused to settle and took them to trial. This was probably a good move, as the verdict seems a bit low considering the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • $7,5000 Settlement (Pennsylvania 2023): A 14-year-old girl claimed to suffer PTSD, headaches, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar sprain/strain, hip pain, and cervical and lumbar radiculopathy after the vehicle she was a passenger in, stopped at a red light, was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by the defendant. GEICO quickly agreed to settle for $7,500. The plaintiff probably could have squeezed them for more, and this seems like an example of GEICO’s lowball strategy working.
  • $50,000 Verdict (Washington 2023): The 58-year-old male plaintiff was in stop-and-go traffic when the defendant struck him from behind a reasonably low speed. The plaintiff claimed to suffer neck and back injuries, including a sacroiliac (SI) joint injury that would require surgery. The plaintiff rejected GEICO’s lowball settlement offers, and a jury awarded $50,000, which was significantly lower than what the plaintiff demanded.
  • $50,000 Verdict (Alabama 2023): The plaintiff, a minor, was injured in a rear-end collision. He claimed to suffer a concussion and cervical sprain in the collision and had suffered from headaches and significant neck and back pain. After settling with the at-fault driver for $25,000, the plaintiff sought additional UIM benefits from GEICO’s auto claims adjuster, who pushed back against offering what their client thought he was oweed.  The court ultimately awarded $25,000 against GEICO.
  • $44,480 Verdict (Washington 2023): The plaintiff was hit from behind while stopped at an intersection. Liability was admitted, and the case went forward strictly on damages. The plaintiff claimed bilateral hip, shoulder, neck, and upper back injuries with no permanency and 21 months of treatment. GEICO contested the extent of the damages, and the case went to trial.
  • $92,500 Verdict (Georgia 2023): The plaintiff, a middle-aged female, suffered a deep gash in her chin, resulting in scarring and disfigurement and two fractured teeth, which had to be shaved down to implant veneers as a result of an accident caused by GEICO’s insured driver. GEICO went to trial and lost in this case, with the jury payout exceeding the settlement demand by $10,000.

Contact a GEICO Lawyer

If you have an accident claim involving GEICO, contact us today online or call us at 800-553-8082.

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