Advice for Discussing Your Claim with the Insurance Company After an Accident
No matter which insurance company you are dealing with, after a car accident, speaking with the big dogs can be intimidating. Most drivers fear the insurance company won’t be helpful and it will be an uphill fight to get their claim covered.
How do you avoid complications? Don’t think about lying to the insurance carrier; it’s against the law. Keep in mind: your words can have consequences. Below are some tips for discussing your claim with the insurance company:
Keep it short and simple
It’s human nature to explain the accident in full detail stating every little thing you saw. But exactly how much detail should you divulge?
Drivers should answer questions honestly, but cautious about volunteering details. You should be as honest as possible, but don’t strain to give details that you are not 100% sure happened to fill holes you think are in your story. Many people can’t recall many specifics, so trying too hard to give complete details can quickly turn in to giving a false recount.
Avoid assuming fault
One of the most common after-accident mistakes is wrongly admitting fault. You may think you were undoubtedly to blame, but there may also be some mitigating factors. The determination of who is at fault are rarely black and white. Most accidents are caused by errors made by both parties. Sometimes its an even 50/50, sometimes its more like70/30. An investigation may uncover something the other driver could have done to circumvent the accident. You do not want to jeopardize your own possible settlement by admitting fault that may not 100% be yours. Let the investigative process play out.
Obtaining your compensation
When it comes time to settle with the insurance company, getting fairly compensated can be tricky. For injury claims, it is important to receive medical treatment from a doctor and send all medical records and billing statements from your treatment to the insurance company. Claims that are not documented by a medical professional will not be considered.
Property damage is usually more straightforward. The value of a vehicle is the value of a vehicle. If the insurance company is giving you problems with covering repairs to your vehicle, it is a good idea to submit a complaint to your state’s department of insurance.
Ultimately, you do have to work with the insurance company, so don’t be confrontational. But working with the insurance company doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your rights.
4 Things you should not to say to the insurance company
“I’m okay”: Soft-tissue injuries rarely show up immediately. Sometimes it can take a couple of days for you to feel pain. Get checked out by a medical professional before you make the determination that you do not have any injuries.
“I’m alright with you recording me”: If the insurance carrier wants to obtain a recorded statement from you, ask if you can submit a written statement or affidavit instead. This way you can proof your statements before giving them to the insurance company.
“Whiplash”: Even if you have been diagnosed with it, mentioning whiplash can throw up major warning lights with the insurance company due to a large number of insurance scams.
“Sorry”: Apologizing can be perceived as admitting fault.