The United States insurance system makes billions of dollars every year. They charge exorbitant prices to insure policyholders and offer peace of mind. In exchange for that, they say they will provide the insured with coverage the consumer cannot be without. This is seemingly a noble way to run a business. Stop right there. Insurance companies maintain their bottom line and then some by using dirty tricks and shoddy offers to stay more than solvent. As a policyholder, it is essential that you learn more about the things you should never do when dealing with your insurer.
Don’t Allow Them to Record Your Conversation
When you speak with an adjuster or another representative, the first thing they may ask is if the conversation can be recorded. They might add that it is for your protection, so the facts are preserved. That explanation is far from the truth. The insurance company wants to have your answers preserved to possibly fortify their case against you. So, should you agree? The answer is no, do not agree for several reasons.
Why Should You Not Agree to a Recorded Phone Call
The insurance company representative might ask how you are. This sounds remarkably like concern on their part and even genuine interest. While it might be in a few cases, by and large, it is not. The insurer knows that most people automatically answer that they are OK as long as they are still standing. It is a natural response and one that can cause much trouble later. Once that answer is recorded, they can come back at you later and say you said you were fine, which could destroy your case all for an innocent remark.
In addition, if you speak with the insurance company in the first hours or even days after your accident, you might not feel all that bad. It happens for two reasons. The first and most common reason is that your adrenaline started pouring into your system. This is the flight or fight hormone we share with other mammals, and it does a great job masking pain. When the level regresses, you will be better able to answer whether you feel well. The second reason is that many injuries take a while before manifesting symptoms. For instance, cervical strain or whiplash takes up to 72 hours to become symptomatic. The insurance company will place tremendous doubt on your injury if you change your reply days later.
The other thing that many policyholders do is veer off course when there is a gap in the conversation. It is easy to start talking about why you think the accident happened. The problem is you are guessing and in court when accident reconstruction analyses are displayed, your guess might look like a lie. Since you need to cooperate with your insurer, it is best to simply say that you do not want the conversation recorded and that they can ask the questions of your car accident attorney. This will take the burden off you in a challenging time.
Don’t Accept a Lowball Offer
The insurer may offer to pay you a lowball amount to get the case off their agenda. It also saves them a lot of money in many cases. The insurer will bank on your anxiety, at the moment when you are injured and worried you cannot go back to work. In addition, at an early point in the process, you will not have a clear view of your injuries until your physician has time to run tests and you are unsure what kind of medical intervention you will need to recover.
The problem here is if you accept the lowball settlement, the insurance company will ask you to sign a waiver. This waiver says that you will give up your right to ask for more damages, even if you need them concerning this accident. So, let’s say that the accident caused a disk in your back to herniate. This happens and can cause severe pain and disability. Your doctor informs you that you need surgery to repair the herniation even though the operation and associated hospital stay will be expensive. If you accept the settlement, you will have to pay for it out of your pocket, and few can do this.
Do Not Give Permission for the Insurer to Access Your Medical Records
Many times, the insurer will ask you to give them permission to access all your medical records. This means they can go back 20 years, long before the current accident occurred. This is not curiosity on their part. They are looking for a prior injury that might show similar symptoms and give them an excuse to deny the claim. For example, let’s say you hurt your back playing football in high school. The insurance company might say that the accident did not cause your present symptoms but the earlier incident did. You could argue that your back healed when you were tackled by another player, and your current pain has nothing to do with it. The insurer is simply using your medical records against you.
Obtain Legal Advice
Be careful when dealing with an insurance company. It is beneficial to obtain legal advice. Your attorney will not allow you to fall into their trap and will talk to them in your stead. Concentrate on healing and let them try to play their games with your attorney. If he/she is experienced, the insurance company might find themselves coming away empty-handed.