It’s unfortunate that insurance adjusters are professional negotiators trained to get information from you that can hurt your insurance claim. Contrary to what most people believe, and the impression an adjuster might give you, their job is not to make sure your losses are covered. This isn’t to say they’re bad people. They just work for companies that don’t necessarily have your best interests in mind.
That’s why you need an ally whose job is to reach the best outcome for you. Just as importantly, you need an advocate who understands the insurance business and the tactics used by insurance adjusters.
To protect your personal injury claim, you should get the advice of a personal injury lawyer or auto accident attorney before you speak with an adjuster.
Why You Need Guidance When Dealing With Insurance Adjusters
For an insurance claims adjuster, it’s a good day if they talk someone into accepting lower compensation for their claim than they deserve. That “success metric” is driven by the fact that the less an insurance company pays in claims, the more profit it keeps. It’s as simple as that, and it’s particularly frustrating when you simply want a fair outcome.
Insurance adjusters use a variety of tactics to achieve their goals. For example, they contact you soon after an incident. This is not out of concern, but to win your trust.
Then, an adjuster may try to convince you not to talk with a lawyer. Often, they’ll say that the insurance company’s settlement offer is better than anything an attorney can get for you.
Another tactic is to ask you to sign documents that prevent you from seeking higher compensation later. An adjuster might also try to get you to make a recorded statement about your claim. They’ll even use the familiar language that a call is being recorded “for quality purposes.” Ultimately they use the information you share against you.
An experienced personal injury or auto accident attorney can shield you from these attempts to decrease your claim compensation.
Tips for Interacting With an Insurance Adjuster: What To Do and Not To Do
To protect yourself when talking with an insurance adjuster, you need to know what to do and what not to do. For instance, you should:
- Talk with a personal injury or auto accident attorney first
- Take notes about the conversation, including information on the insurance company and the questions the adjuster asks you
- Record the conversation if possible
- Tell the truth, but don’t hesitate to say “I don’t remember” if that’s the case
- Take a breath and collect your thoughts before answering a question
You should not:
- Provide any information about your injuries or apparent lack of injuries from the incident
- Share information about your current health or medical history
- Admit fault
- Speculate about what caused the incident
- Provide details about your employment or personal life
- Volunteer information the adjuster hasn’t requested
- Let friendly small talk convince you that the adjuster is on your side
Common Insurance Adjuster Tactics
Insurance adjusters often will provide recommendations they say will make things easier for you. That can include encouraging you to use their “preferred” body shop after an automobile accident or physician for medical treatments. “We’ve got a good relationship with them. They’ll treat you right!” they’ll say.
Keep in mind that you aren’t obligated to use any recommended providers. Doing so may even work against you. In the case of a body shop, for example, the insurance company and the shop owner may be working together.
The company sends business their way, and the shop agrees to keep repair costs low. To do that, the shop may have to work quickly or overlook problems with your car that they should address.
Another common tactic adjusters use is to make you think certain actions are mandatory—like providing a recorded statement or signing a document. They may not state that expressly, as that would be a lie, but they know how to make it sound like the actions are required.
An insurance adjuster may also try to convince you to accept a settlement before you finish your medical treatment. If you take the offer and your doctor later discovers more medical issues caused by the incident, the insurance company won’t compensate you for the additional treatment costs.
Take Steps to Ensure a Fair Outcome on Your Claim
Being manipulated by an insurance adjuster can cause ripple effects that affect your financial stability for years to come. Protect yourself and your family by working with an experienced attorney who can keep the insurance company from taking advantage of you. Contact Ginnis & Krathen today to discuss your injury or accident claim. We’ll help you move forward with confidence that the insurer will address it fairly.