Three Things You Should Never Tell Your Insurance Company
You have insurance for two reasons. The first is that it is a legal requirement. The second is so you have someone to turn to when you face the unexpected.
In theory, you have insurance so that if you get into an accident, you do not lose all of your savings trying to resolve the issue. With a monthly payment plan and a good policy, you do not need to dread a fender bender because your insurance company will take care of you.
The thing about insurance companies is that they like receiving monthly payments from their customers, and they make a lot of money this way. When customers ask for that money back through a claim, they are less happy, however.
This is why you need to be careful about what you say to your insurance company. It is easy to use the wrong word to describe your accident. This one false step can mean the difference between a comprehensive claim and being sent out into the cold.
Never Admit Fault
Do not ever, under any circumstances, admit fault in an accident. Even if it is obviously entirely your fault.
Insurance companies do not want to hear that you were at fault. They do not want to insure people who cause accidents because these accidents translate into claims. Claims then translate into lower profits. No one likes lower profits, especially your insurance provider.
Admitting fault can put you in a precarious position because it can cause the insurance company not to pay your claim. It also means that your insurance company has to pay the other person’s claim.
If you are asked, decline to answer. Do not blame it on the other driver either. Keep mum and let your agent work it out.
Don’t Claim Whiplash
Minor injuries go hand-in-hand with accidents. Whiplash is one of the most common complaints that people have after these accidents.
Unfortunately, whiplash is not your best friend. No one can prove that you have whiplash because it is a muscular injury. It cannot be documented with x-rays or MRIs.
If you were injured in the accident, be sure to look for the exact cause of your injury to see whether it can be medically documented. Doing this will improve your chances of having your claim paid.
Whiplash is a buzzword in the insurance industry because it is often claimed falsely. If you mention the word whiplash, you are more likely to be investigated or to have your policy strictly enforced because insurance companies simply don’t trust it.
Do Not Tell Them About Medical Issues
Avoid signing a medical release form at all costs. Your medical records are protected under federal law and insurance companies do not need them to investigate an accident.
If you do sign this form, you run the risk of your insurer digging through all of your medical records. This includes records that have nothing to do with your accident. When they have access to this information, the insurance company might be able to reject your claim based on a bump on your head that you suffered when you were 15.
You should also avoid giving out any personal information about your family or about your doctor. The less information you give them about this, the less they can use against you.
Your insurance company is there to help but they also want to profit. To protect themselves against fraudulent claims, some insurers take their investigations to the next level. To make sure that your claim goes smoothly, avoid adding fuel to the fire by keeping personal details to yourself.
What are ‘Bad Faith’ Insurance claims?
Under United States law, insurance companies owe a duty of good faith and fair dealings to the clients they insure. When insurance companies and attorneys knowingly break that trust to avoid paying fair compensation to their customers or to injured parties who are suing them, which is called acting in bad faith.
Insurance coverage is becoming more expensive each year. We live under a system where certain coverage like automobile insurance is mandatory. Now, under Obamacare, we’re also bound by law to have medical coverage.
As much as paying these premiums can hurt at times, having a legitimate insurance claim denied by companies using bad faith claim tactics makes it even worse. It’s like pouring salt in an open wound. People who are victimized by greedy companies who stonewall claims and refuse to pay just compensation have a right to feel angry and violated.
Here is a list of some of the more obvious bad faith tactics:
- Automatically denial of coverage – Some shady companies will automatically deny responsibility and coverage on every initial claim. They don’t even investigate the claim itself.
- An unreasonable amount of time for response – Delay, delay, delay is another tactic of bad faith. Companies will take weeks and months before they even confirm or deny whether their insured client was covered at the time the suing party injured.
- Refusing to negotiate – This is a common tactic used against parties who file personal injury claims without going through an attorney. By never returning phone calls or refusing to respond to written communication, the insurance company is saying, “If you want to negotiate a settlement with us, hire yourself a personal injury lawyer.”
- Failing to deny your claim within a reasonable time period– This is another delaying tactic hoping you’ll lose heart and just give up trying to get an answer of the status of your claim.
- Refusing to investigate your claim – This is the ultimate stonewall tactic. Your claim sits in an “in” basket and is never acted upon.
- Refusing to negotiate a fair settlement – Even when the claim is obviously legitimate, companies will lowball a settlement and refuse to negotiate a fair one.
- No clear written explanation for denial of claim – All responses to the claim will be vague with no logical or legitimate reason for denying the claim.
- Citing laws improperly to mislead the claimant – This old tactic of purposely referencing incorrect case law or statute numbers is another delay tactic intended to confuse and dismay the claimant.
- Changing adjusters solely for the purpose of delay – Once a claimant has finally entered into some form of negotiations, companies will change adjusters so you’ll have to start the process all over again.
- Failure to provide information that is relevant to your claim – Companies will hold back documents or information the claimant should have if they feel it will jeopardize their denial.
- Purposely delaying negotiations to let the statute of limitations expire
- Using incorrect dates of statute of limitations in order to deny a claim
- Failure to pay the settlement amount once it’s been agreed to – This is probably the most egregious bad faith tactic of them all. After the claimant has jumped through all the hoops and over all of the obstacles thrown up by the insurance company and reached a settlement agreement, the company refuses to make good and pay it. In essence they’re saying, “If you want our money, sue us.”
If you feel you are a victim of a bad faith insurance tactics, you need to consult a bad faith insurance lawyer. Let a Bowling Green attorney fight the insurance company to resolve the issues so you can proceed with your claim.