What Should You Not Say to an Insurance Adjuster?
Did you know that over 200 million insurance claims related to health care are rejected annually? Whether you lodge a claim related to health care, a car accident, or homeowner’s insurance, there is no guarantee you’ll be paid. Depending on your circumstances, an insurance adjuster may be dispatched to verify your claim.
An insurance adjuster is an agent of the insurance company. Their sole job is to calculate if your insurer should pay your claim and by how much.
An insurance adjuster may research public information, like hospital records, related to you and your personal activities. They may interview everyone related to the filing of your insurance claim.
Insurance adjusters may interview police, bystanders, witnesses, relatives, and anyone tied to the incident that gave rise to the claim.
If an insurance company sends an insurance adjuster to speak to you, you should really watch your words.
Whatever you say will be used to benefit the insurance company. There are many things you shouldn’t say to an insurance adjuster.
And, you shouldn’t be alone while dealing with one, especially if you have a sizable insurance claim on the line.
Don’t Speak to an Insurance Adjuster if Possible
Don’t conflate trying to cash in an insurance claim with smooth-talking a car salesman. An insurance adjuster is not a cop, but everything you say will be used against you to forfeit possible payment.
Hire a lawyer to deal with the insurance adjuster. Lawyers are trained in these matters and know how to deal with insurance companies in the furtherance of your interests.
Can’t afford a lawyer? You could hire a public adjuster to help settle the claim to your benefit.
A public adjuster is an independent and neutral insurance professional. They have no ties to any insurance company and are paid via commission.
If you opt to talk on your own behalf, whatever you do, don’t admit your own fault in anything.
Never Admit Fault
If you opt to talk to an insurance adjuster, I highly recommend that you do so with a lawyer or public adjuster present.
As Joe Friday used to say, just talk about the facts. And only do so with the counsel of your lawyer or public adjuster.
Don’t interpret, exaggerate, or add any personal commentary regarding the situation that required the presence of the insurance adjuster.
As we have stressed earlier, the insurance adjuster is not on your side. They are engaging with you solely as an agent of the insurance company.
Don’t treat them like a confessional or admit fault for any reason or circumstance.
The insurance adjuster’s main job is to use your words and the facts of the incident against you. They want to absolve the insurance company of as much liability as possible.
You don’t have to be rude, but don’t be so sociable and polite as to let your guard down when conversing. Watch your words and admit nothing.
Also, don’t get emotionally carried away or angry in trying to prove that another party is to blame. You may unwittingly utter incriminating information that only serves to reinforce you are at fault.
Don’t apologize for anything. If you are apologizing, the insurance adjuster can only theorize you did something wrong.
Don’t admit you are to blame for anything, even if you believe that you might be to blame.
There may be extenuating circumstances, unknown parties involved, component defects, and other unknown variables that may absolve you later on.
Consequences of Admitting Fault
Once you apologize, confess, or accept blame in front of an insurance adjuster, you have basically eradicated your chances for compensation.
Additionally, you may even open yourself up to lawsuits by the insurance company and/or the other parties involved.
Don’t Offer Information About Personal Injuries
Imagine that you were injured in a car crash. Or, maybe your neighbor had a tree too close to your property that fell and hit your house causing you injury.
The insurance adjuster you speak to maybe overly polite and social and ask about your injuries.
Don’t tell them anything about your injuries. That information can be used to determine your culpability.
Or, to determine that you are exaggerating about the extent and seriousness of your injuries.
Tell the insurance adjuster that you and your lawyer/ public adjuster will send such information to the insurance company via an official letter.
Don’t Allow Yourself to be Recorded
Want to learn what you should not say to an insurance adjuster?
An insurance company may accommodate you by playing back your own words via a recorded statement you voluntarily give them.
Don’t let an insurance adjuster intimidate, bully, or persuade you into giving a recorded statement.
You don’t have to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.
Ask yourself – do you think that recording will benefit you or the insurance company in the future?
Don’t Say “Yes” to the First Payout Offer
Insurance actuaries calculate application risk based on algorithms and scientific data related to human habits, health, causes of injury, and death.
An insurance adjuster knows the maximum payout you are entitled to under law relative to your claim.
Part of the reason one may want to talk to you is to verify the value of the claim and your cognizance of such.
You may be injured and in pain due to a car accident. Or, your house may be damaged. Whatever the reason, you may need money sooner than later.
An insurance adjuster knows this as well.
They will know the value of your claim and try to lowball you on a payout instead of paying the full value.
Don’t say, “yes,” to a first settlement offer, especially if it is for a significant sum.
Confer with your lawyer or public adjuster. Once you accept the offer, you can’t legally rescind your acceptance or ask for more money.
Even if you could, you will probably spend more money on a lawsuit than you end up winning.
If you win.
Get it in Writing
If you do accept a settlement, get it in writing. An insurance adjuster may say one thing and then offer another if they know your zeal in settling.
Insurance adjusters are not cops, but your words will be used against you.
Don’t talk to one without a lawyer or public adjuster present.
Watch your words.
Or watch your insurance claim payout chances evaporate.
Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.