What NOT to Say to Your Insurance Company After a Car Accident
8 things you should never say to your insurance agent when filing an auto accident claim
In the moments after a car accident, most people make three calls: 911, a loved one, and then their insurance company. Your insurance company should be informed immediately after the crash as they will most likely be covering expenses such as repairs to your vehicle and medical costs for injuries.
However, insurance companies don’t stay in business by simply covering everything, no questions asked. Your call to the company will most likely be recorded and what you say can be used against you when it comes to covering expenses in an accident.
If you have doubts about talking to your insurance company right away, don't. Instead, contact an experienced car accident attorney first to find out what you should and shouldn’t say.
For starters, here are eight things you should never say to your insurance company after a car accident:
1. “I’m sorry.”
When you do call your insurance company and talk to an adjuster, don’t admit fault for the accident or even apologize since this may give the impression of fault. Don’t discuss your injuries or lack of injuries. Some injuries take time to appear and a further investigation by relevant authorities may turn up more than you know at the time. If the company asks you questions that you don’t have factual answers for, you should let them know that you will get back to them with further details at a later date.
Never utter the word “sorry” when speaking to your insurance agent. The word can easily be misconstrued to indicate that you believe the accident was in some way your fault.
2. “In my opinion...”
Don’t give the adjuster your opinion on what happened. Your opinion has a very low chance of helping any future case, but it has a very high chance of hurting it. Only give them the straight facts such as who, what, when, and where. Let the police report answer the question of “how.”
3. “Sure, I’ll take that settlement.”
Never agree to a settlement. Insurance companies have good reason to want to settle quickly and even discourage you from talking to an attorney. As previously mentioned, insurance companies don’t stay in business by giving fair compensation in every case. It’s in their best interest to settle quickly because people tend to agree to a smaller payout if they can receive it right away. The downside is that these low settlements often fail to cover the full extent of damages and injuries.
4. “Do you want contact info?”
Don’t offer your insurance company any contact information for your friends, family or medical providers. If you do offer them this information, they may call those people for more information about the case and will try to twist their words to deny or decrease payout.
5. “I’m not hiring a lawyer.”
Don’t tell your insurance agent that you aren’t planning to hire an attorney, even if it’s true. Sometimes if they know that you have an attorney you’re communicating with, the adjuster will be more cautious in how they talk to you. If you tell them you don't have a lawyer and won’t hire one, they may attempt to take advantage of your situation.
6. “My car is custom.”
Never refer to your vehicle as customized in any way. Customized vehicles can fall into insurance loopholes and the agent may try to find these if you describe your vehicle in this way.
7. “I was ride sharing.”
Unless you know definitively that your policy covers ride-sharing, don’t bring up ride sharing in any form. Some policies indicate that using your vehicle for certain purposes will cause your coverage to be voided. Review your policy and consult with a car accident attorney if you need to.
8. “I think I have whiplash.”
Along with not describing your injuries or lack thereof, you should never claim that you have whiplash, whether it's true or not. This word is a red flag in the insurance industry for fake claims. Only provide information about your medical condition from a doctor's official reports.
It's okay if you don’t know exactly what to say to an insurance company in the event of a car accident. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney right away can be extremely helpful in navigating this complex process. An attorney can speak to your insurance company on your behalf and advise you what you can safely say to them.
To find out more about legal help for car accident victims, contact the Neal Davis Law Firm in Houston, Texas.