Common Insurance Adjuster Tricks Texas Homeowners Should Be Aware Of
If you thought your insurance agent was a friend, you’re in for a rude awakening when you file a homeowners’ insurance claim. When disaster strikes, don’t expect them to have your back. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. How do they make those huge profits they report every year? By taking your money and paying back as little as possible in your hour of need. It’s that simple. They won’t tell you this outright. Instead, they’ll use sneaky tactics to make you accept a pitiful sum or convince you that you don’t deserve any money at all.
Sneaky Tactics Insurance Adjusters Don’t Want You to Know
Unfortunately, insurance claims adjusters are not on your side, and these trained professionals know exactly what to say and do to protect their one true client, the insurance company that employs them. They also know that while they do this every day for a living, the average policyholder may only deal with an insurance company a few times in a lifetime; they use this inexperience to their advantage. In this article, we discuss a few of the insurance claim adjuster secret tactics to watch out for to ensure you get the best possible outcome when filing a claim.
Requesting Unnecessary Documentation
Common insurance adjuster delay tactics include requesting documents that aren’t needed, which the adjusters assume you won’t have. For example, the insurance company might ask for a valuation based on confusing criteria or calculations from various hard-to-access experts or for a repair or construction bill from years ago. These insurance adjuster tricks often aim to keep you going in circles in hopes you will become frustrated and settle for a lower offer.
Pretending They Care
Be very wary if the insurance adjuster seems overly concerned about the disaster that hit your house. They’ll ask you many questions, just as any true friend would. Their goal, however, is to gather as much information as possible about what you did or didn’t do so that they can use it against you.
Tricking You Into Admitting Fault
One of the most common reasons insurance companies use to deny a claim is that you didn’t take steps to mitigate the damage. For instance, if there was a storm alert, did you remember to lock the windows and the garage door? When did you last clean your rain gutters and downspouts? How about the roof?
They’ll tell you that there were storm preparation steps you could have taken to mitigate damage, but you just didn’t bother. So now you’re expecting them to pay for your carelessness? If you run into this sort of adjuster, don’t give them any details and urgently seek a good Texas home insurance claims lawyer, as you’ll have to fight for every penny.
Inventing False Deadlines
Insurance adjusters deal with desperate people daily, and they know how to take advantage of their fragile state of mind. Here’s what they do – they make you a lowball offer and tell you that you have until a specified date to accept. They make it sound like it’s a take-it-or-leave-it situation, which is not the case. They’re betting on you being desperate to repair your house. Don’t fall for it!
Using Statements Against You
Another of the insurance company tricks to be aware of is when insurance companies try to gather statements from you, in writing in an email or over the phone, that can be used to put together arguments that you were liable for the damage or injury you incurred. This could be as seemingly innocent as the statement, “you placed all of your belongings on the top shelf when you heard a flood was coming, right? –“and other questions that seem concerned and friendly but have a far more litigious purpose.
Other tricks insurance adjusters use include:
- Asking you to share more information than what is needed to process the claim
- Saying that you were negligent or failed to mitigate damages
- Convincing you to undervalue your assets
- Getting you to make an outright admission of fault
With this in mind, always be careful what you say to insurance companies and their representatives, put everything in writing, keep your own detailed records, and, if possible, have an attorney by your side to answer any tricky questions that might come your way.
Undervaluing Your Claim
There are rules governing what an insurance adjuster can offer you for your damaged or destroyed property. In essence, the entire claims process is a negotiation, with the insurance company having the upper hand most of the time. Unfortunately, no matter how much evidence you submit, the insurance company will still likely offer you a lower estimate than you believe you deserve.
Particularly, they are likely to fail to consider such factors as past, present, and future losses, your quality of life, the severity of your loss, and emotional considerations (because some things just can’t be fixed or replaced). Therefore, it is important to stand firm against any such bargaining that enters into the claims process and always to revert back to the documented evidence you have provided as proof of what you are owed, just as one would do in a court case.
Discouraging You from Working with an Attorney
Unbelievably, insurance companies will use a variety of tricks to try to convince their clients that they are watching out for the client’s best interests; therefore, attorney assistance is not needed. Not only do the insurance companies lack any affirmative duty to help their clients (unlike attorneys bound by ethics rules), but they will also often try to exploit their clients’ fears. They’ll say things like an attorney will be too expensive, will make the process longer, and has no real benefits. Going the other way, insurance company tricks have included playing with clients’ egos by telling them they can handle the entire negotiation alone and are doing a wonderful job. These comments should be red flags, as having an attorney by your side can only help and protect you in claims processing.
MMA Can Help You Deal with Your Insurance Company
The attorneys at McClenny Moseley & Associates are well-positioned to protect clients against bad faith insurance practices and the tricks and tactics often used by insurance companies. We’ll show you how to handle insurance claims the right way.
Contact us today so that our insurance claim lawyers in Houston can help you, or check out some more of our informative blog posts: