Here’s What Not to Say to an Insurance Claims Adjuster
A common misconception many people make when their homes or property is damaged is that their insurance company is on their side. The more factual story is that insurance companies want to save as much money as possible, and they do this by trying to avoid what they pay on policyholders’ claims.
What Not to Say to An Insurance Adjuster
For this reason, your insurance company will conduct its own investigation of your damage when you file a claim. And this investigation is likely to include looking for evidence that can be used to deny your claim or provide you with a lowball settlement offer.
With that in mind, we always recommend working with a skilled insurance claims attorney when you suffer a loss instead of directly dealing with the insurance adjuster. However, if you do have to speak with the company’s adjuster, here is what not to say to an insurance adjuster.
1. Don’t Admit Fault
What should you not say in a claim? First, it’s important to remember that honesty isn’t just recommended — it’s required when speaking with an insurance adjuster. Misstatements could lead to a claim being denied and even allegations of insurance fraud.
However, that doesn’t mean taking the blame for damage you didn’t cause after a disaster has struck your property. Along the same lines, don’t speculate about a fallen tree having been rotted or a collapsed ceiling needing replacement when you don’t know these things to an absolute certainty.
Admissions of fault, responsibility, or contributing to the problem are all things insurance adjusters have a trained ear for, and they will be listening to see if any statements you make can get their employers out of paying on your claims.
2. Don’t Downplay Damages
Victims who downplay their damages give insurance adjusters a chance to downplay the settlement offers they make. This might include, for example, leaving out a certain section of the damage on a walk-thru, not mentioning damaged property items you would replace anyway, or saying that the insurance company doesn’t have to worry about this or that. You pay for your policy, so you should have a right to collect to the fullest extent possible if you are eligible.
3. Don’t Give a Recorded Statement
You should always avoid giving any on-the-fly recorded statements to the insurance adjuster. However, if the insurance company feels it needs to go that route, it should employ more formal procedures, such as a recording under oath with a reporter present. You should also be given a chance to be represented by legal counsel.
You should also be provided sufficient time to gather your thoughts and a chance to read or submit a prepared written statement. An adjuster who takes a statement quickly onsite will gain information almost guaranteed to be more beneficial to the insurance company than it will be to you.
4. Don’t Accept the Initial Settlement Offer
A common practice is for an insurance adjuster to start with a low offer amount and to hope you will accept it without challenge. An attorney, though, will be able to assist you in negotiating for an amount that is more fair in light of the losses you have suffered.
What Insurance Adjusters Consider When Evaluating Property Claims
When considering what you should not say in a claim, insurance adjusters often look for “the catch” that can get insurance companies out of paying the highest amount on your claims.
The adjuster will consider a variety of inputs in assessing your claim. Documents and information you should be ready to give them include statements describing your loss, an inventory of lost or damaged property, specifications and assessments for damaged structures, and receipts for additional living expenses if you have been displaced.
The adjuster will also likely conduct their inspection and ask follow-up questions. Being ready with all information on hand and having your story straight is the key to success in an insurance claims process.
Let the Insurance Claims Attorneys at McClenny Mosely & Associates Help You
at MMA Law Firm, our Houston homeowners insurance claim lawyers help clients interpret Texas homeowners insurance claim laws, understand their rights, and recover from their losses every day. Our attorneys are well-positioned to assist clients with insurance claims in Texas, including ensuring that insurance claims adjusters behave correctly under the law.
This blog published by MMA Law Firm is available for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice on any subject matter. The content available on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.