Every driver dreads the thought of dealing with an insurance claim for a car accident, but the reality is that many drivers will eventually encounter such a situation. Insurance claims adjusters can be difficult, and they generally attempt to look for any and all reasons to reduce the payout on a claim or deny a claim. Insurance companies make money by collecting premium payments and lose money when they must pay out on claims, so paying out is never really in the insurer’s interest.
If you must file a claim for a car accident, keep several things in mind when speaking with your insurance claims adjuster. Be very careful of your word choice as saying or even implying the wrong thing could negatively impact your claim.
Tips for Talking to Claims Adjusters
Whenever you file a claim for insurance coverage, either against your own policy or someone else’s, the insurer will conduct an investigation to assess the validity of your claim and the scope of your damages. The insurance claims adjuster’s job is to examine the details of your claim and the policy in question and determine the insurance company’s liability.
For example, if you must file a claim for property damage but the insurance policy only allows a certain amount of coverage for property damage, you will only recover up to the upper limit of the coverage amount.
Be Wary of Leading Questions
Many insurance claims adjusters ask open-ended questions because people generally like to talk; the more you talk, the more potential the adjuster has to find discrepancies with your claim. Answer the adjuster’s questions honestly and concisely.
Watch Out for Long, Awkward Pauses
People generally do not like awkward silences. The adjuster may ask you a question, and then after you answer the adjuster remains silent, as if waiting for you to say more. If you answered honestly and concisely, do not feel compelled to keep talking just to break the awkward silence; this is a common tactic among claims adjusters.
Consult with an Accident Attorney Before Filing Your Claim
Ideally, you could have your Phoenix car accident attorney handle all correspondence with your insurance company, and a claims adjuster is less likely to push back on a claim if the claimant has legal representation. Your attorney can not only help you draft your initial demand letter but also handle correspondence with the insurer on your behalf and help you prepare for an interview with a claims adjuster.
Do Not Admit Fault, Even if You Believe You Were at Fault
Never say anything that indicates you accept fault for the accident. Speak matter-of-factly and do not offer personal speculations when answering the claims adjuster’s questions.
Do Not Sign Anything Until Your Attorney Reviews It
Do not agree to an official statement or sign any kind of paperwork from a claims adjuster until you have an attorney review it. Your Phoenix personal injury attorney can help ensure you do not sign away your rights to coverage for your claim, and there may be factors in play you do not yet recognize.
Do Not Speculate
It is fine to answer with “I do not know,” but never respond with “I think” and speculate about any aspect of your claim. Doing so could cause problems later as you may need to produce evidence or related information for your speculations.
Do Not Downplay Your Damages
Avoid saying things like “I’m fine” if the claims adjuster asks how you are doing; this could be taken as an admission your injuries have healed or were never serious in the first place.
Speaking with an insurance claims adjuster can be stressful, so the best way to handle this situation is by hiring an attorney to represent your interests as soon as you recognize the need to file an insurance claim.