Not very difficult, but what you say can cost you!
When it comes to reporting a claim, most insurance companies have fast systems to service your call.
Most of the time you will not redirect to a claims adjuster (depending on the time of the day), but a member of the service center is trained to ask the relevant questions about your loss. Just before you are redirected or before you talk to an actual human, a recording comes up telling you that the call might be monitored or recorded for quality purposes.
If the recording does not come up, then the person servicing the call will tell you that the call could be recorded. Either way, be aware, what you say can be used against you to deny coverage.
Since you have not agreed to give a recorded statement, the claim adjuster will not use that recording directly, but will use it to leverage against you. For example,
“Sir, when you reported the claim, you indicated when you called that the damage was to the driver rear door, we inspected the vehicle and you only have damage to the passenger rear door. Since this is the case, we have to further investigate the claim.”
They will not deny your claim solely on those grounds, but they will delay the investigation. You do need to call and file a claim, most insurance policies require doing this, so make sure you protect your interest by reporting a claim with both insurance companies.
Instead of calling and giving a lot details here are some tips that you should follow when reporting a claim:
1. Limit your to call to 5 to 10, minutes and tell the call center that you will have more details when talking to the actual adjuster (and when you have more time).
2. Tell them that you had an accident with another vehicle, the other party’s name and information, the location of the accident, and then tell them that you will wait for the call of the adjuster.
3. Make sure you tell them how many passengers are in all vehicles.
4. Account for how many children are present.
5. When asked about fault, just say that you are not sure at this point (unless it is very clear). You will be surprise how they will twist your words against you.
6. When asked about injuries, just say that you are unsure at that point (many injuries appear 2 to 3 days after the accident). Unless, you know you are hurt or you did have to go to the hospital.
7. Do not have an attorney reporting a claim on your behalf. Most insurance carriers see this as a red flag. They assume that you are out there to get money. Just wait until the time is right to hire an attorney if you feel you need one.
8. Call the insurance company's 800 number. Do not call your agent. Your agent is not a claim adjuster which means that they have no say about fault, injury settlement, or anything regarding the claim. Some agents will not report the claim because this could affect their compensation and bonus packages.
9. The description of the accident should be short. For example, you should say, we had a collision in Farr and University Road. There is a dispute on the color of the light, but I know mine was green.
10. Do not volunteer information not asked! If you tell them that you were in a race track your claim will be denied and it will be very difficult to change that. Why? Most insurance companies exclude accidents in race tracks.
11. Log in who you talked to, the time and date. This information could become very valuable later on.
In our next issue, we will cover how to pick insurance coverages to make sure you are not over paying, and you are not under insured. Our next issue will be delivered on or about July 20th, keep in contact.
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