In theory, your insurance company exists to help you—the policyholder—in times of need. When you get in an accident or sustain a serious injury some other way, you’ll probably file a claim with your insurance company to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t want to help you—they want to make a profit. For that reason, there are certain things your insurance company doesn’t want you to know. If you knew them, you’d be armed against their money-making strategy.
So what are the things insurance companies don’t say? Here are seven facts they don’t want you to know.
- What you tell the insurer can work against you.
Often, your insurance company will try to get a recorded statement from you about what happened and how much damage was done. Even a casual remark you make while talking with the claims adjuster on the phone can count as a formal statement—and may be used as evidence. For example, if you say something like, “the accident may have been my fault,” or “I wasn’t that badly injured,” the insurer will use that to limit or deny your claim. That’s why it’s so important to consult an attorney before giving any kind of statement to your insurer.
- The claims adjuster may be lying to you.
If a claims adjuster tells you you’re not entitled to claim a back injury because you already had back pain before the accident happened, or if they tell you that you can’t receive compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering, they may be lying to you. There are a number of things insurance agents will tell you just to see if they can get away with it.
- Insurance adjusters are excellent negotiators.
The claims adjuster may pressure you to accept an offer immediately, telling you that you have to accept it within 24 hours, or telling you that this is their “best offer.” They may give explanations for why your claim is so low, and their reasons may seem viable. They may cite your policy or your medical records. But don’t be fooled. Insurance adjusters often start with a lower claim to see if you will accept it or not. You have the right to consider their offer and seek outside counsel.
- Insurance companies employ doctors to find pre-existing injuries in your medical records.
If you give the insurer access to your medical records by signing an authorization form, they will try to find anything they can to minimize your claim. To do this, they have their doctors look through your records and find information about a pre-existing injury or condition. Then, they’ll try to make the claim that your injury isn’t as severe as you say it is. Even if your own doctor says your injury is severe, the insurance company will use its own doctors to try and contradict their statement.
- The claims adjuster is there to make money.
While we’d like to think an insurance company is there to help, most of them are there to make money off of you. In fact, an insurance adjuster’s job is to try and reduce your claim as much as possible—or better yet, have it denied. The adjuster may act friendly and tell you they want to help, but bear in mind that the insurance company doesn’t make any money off of helping you.
- Insurance companies can be sued for unethical practices.
Unethical insurance practices are those that act against the policyholder’s best interests. There are certain accountability laws insurance companies must adhere to, and they assume that you don’t know about these laws. With a lawyer on your side, you can keep insurance companies on the straight and narrow and hold them accountable when they deliberately act against your best interests.
- Insurance companies do not want you to hire a lawyer.
Insurance companies will say almost anything to convince you not to hire a lawyer. They may play the cost card, or they may tell you that lawyers are greedy or that a lawyer won’t be able to get you a better offer. What they don’t tell you is that they use lawyers to help reduce your claim. Obviously, if they tell you not to hire an attorney, it’s because they know you can get more money that way.
The best way to ensure that you get the best offer and that your insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you is to consult with an attorney. As seasoned lawyers in Salisbury, MD, we have years of experience fighting insurance companies and proving negligence in Maryland. And unlike your insurance company, we’re on your side.