When you’re filing a claim or discussing details on insurance settlement, you want to be careful with the words you say to the insurer or its representative. Saying the wrong words, phrases or statements during the first meeting or call can turn a hassle-free and fast settlement into a prolonged nightmare.
Many adjusters are on the lookout for particular trigger words from the conversation that may invalidate an insurance claim. The general strategy, therefore, is to avoid talking too much. Just tell the insurance agent what happened – no more, no less.
Avoid these words, phrases or statements (often used by over-talkers), which could undermine legitimate insurance claims:
“I don’t have a lawyer.”
If you’re a victim of a motorcycle or car accident, avoid saying that you don’t have an auto or motorcycle accident attorney to help you with the claims. The insurance provider may throw a low-ball settlement to save their business money. You need to hire legal counsel to assist you with the insurance process.
When you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, the insurance adjuster is more likely to look into your claim with greater attention and respect. An attorney often has more experience and knowledge concerning the laws surrounding insurance firms and in estimating the true value of your insurance claim.
Although your souped-up high-profile car may be the talk of the town and your pride and joy, auto insurance providers aren’t interested in covering motorists showing off their modified vehicles just to look cool.
Your insurance provider may not cover upgrades and customization on your vehicle. Even if they do, don’t expect a high amount from them. You should also remember that some vehicle modifications might void your car insurance policy.
“I’m sorry or I apologize”
When you’ve done something wrong, you say, “I’m sorry.” This is acceptable. What’s not OK is apologizing a lot. You should eliminate the habit of saying sorry all the time.
You should keep your mouth shut when you’re at the scene of the road accident. You don’t need to admit fault (or anything at all). Let the law enforcement officers determine the erring party. You don’t want people to have the wrong idea about your role in the incident, especially if you’re not the at-fault party.
“This is my official statement.”
Never offer an official statement without consulting your legal counsel. You’re not under any obligation to have your statement recorded. What’s more, the insurance adjuster may take what you say out of context. They may also misconstrue and manipulate your words and phrases to serve the best interests of the insurance company.
The initial settlement offers you’ll hear from insurance adjusters are usually low-ball offers. When you receive an offer from a representative, don’t accept it right away. You’ll want to receive a claim that fully compensates you for your injuries. If you’re being pressured to accept, let the insurer know that you’ll be consulting with a lawyer who will negotiate a fair settlement.
Insurance providers are wary of any policyholder who insists that the unusual situation was purely coincidental. An example is this statement: “It’s a matter of coincidence that the driver’s seat of my car mysteriously caught fire and exploded.” The insurance company may suspect your vehicle fire was on purpose instead of coincidence.
Although insurance policies typically cover bad judgment and poor luck, such as going too fast on an icy road and crashing, they won’t cover intentional acts. If you break your car window to retrieve your keys, be prepared to shell out money for this intentional damage.
“I’m fine” (Even When You’re Not)
Some individuals have a misplaced tendency to assure their friends and family that everything’s going to be “ok” after an accident – even when they’re having trouble crawling out of your vehicle. Rather than say, “Don’t worry, I’m fine”, let a medical professional determine your condition before providing any information to your insurer or other people.
“I think or I believe”
If you are unable to provide a factual answer to your insurer, saying, “I don’t know” is fine. Refrain from giving opinions or providing estimates during your conversation with the adjuster. Examples include the distance calculations and the actual speed of your vehicle before the road accident.
Names of People
Name-dropping is a no-no when talking to your insurance provider. Refrain from giving the names of physicians, friends and family members. If the case ends up in litigation, you may be required to supply details about anything you told these people along with their contact details. This is a headache you’ll want to avoid.
When reporting an insurance claim, avoid providing these words, statements or phrases to an adjuster. While you’re talking to your insurer, stay calm, so that you don’t blurt out stuff you’ll regret.