Despite what you see on television commercials telling you the insurance companies are like good neighbors or that you’re in good hands, insurance company and their adjusters do not want to pay your claim out. Their goal is to maximize their own profits for themselves and their shareholders. Insurance companies are evil villains. Always keep that in mind. This is especially true if you are dealing with the other side’s insurance company! Below are 10 shady tricks the insurance companies use to try to devalue or avoid paying you a fair claim after an accident.
The Quick Settlement Trick
Do not take a quick settlement. One shady trick used by the insurance companies is to try to get you to accept a small offer quickly. This often prevents a person from knowing the full extent of their injuries, which you may not find out about until a later time. For instance, a married couple was recently involved in an accident. The wife was badly injured, but the husband didn’t think he had any injuries. Two weeks after the accident he started having terrible tooth pain, and found out that he had cracked two molars and was going to need to have both teeth removed, have a bone graft procedure and require expensive dental implants. Thankfully, he declined the insurance company offer the day after the accident of $2,500 for his injuries. However, many people fall for the quick settlement offered by the insurance adjusters. Don’t do it.
The “Friendly Insurance Adjuster” Trick
Here, the insurance company pretends to be on your side and to actually care about you. Do not be fooled. They do not care about you. You’re a number to them. In another example, a family of four was involved in an accident. Both parents were in the front seat and were badly injured. The young children, while not physically injured, had to deal with the mental trauma of seeing their parents seriously injured. The “friendly” insurance adjuster told the parents, “Thankfully your children didn’t get hurt at all!”. She knew full well that they were mentally harmed. In fact, parents were able to sue and recover damages for the mental trauma the kids had to endure. Each child had a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Using Recorded Statements to Devalue Your Claim
Don’t do it. Did you know, you do not have to give a recorded statement? Very rarely is this ever required. The other side’s insurance company adjuster want to record their conversation with you so that you say something that lowers the value of your claim. Don’t be pressured into it. Adjusters salivate when they can avoid having an attorney on these calls. They will use sneaky phrasing and questions to try to get you to say something they will try and use against you.
Misrepresenting the Insurance Policy Limits
Insurance company adjusters do not like to tell people what the insurance policy limits are. Sometimes they are downright deceitful. In another example, a man, his wife and his daughter were injured when a driver was texting and driving and slammed into their vehicle. The other sides insurance adjuster told the man that the maximum policy limit was $100,000. However, this shady adjuster was misrepresenting the insurance policy limits. It was actually $100,000 per person and $300,000 total. She never told the man this and they didn’t find out until hiring an attorney who found out the truth.
Lowball Initial Offer
Insurance adjusters are not going to give you the maximum amount on their first offer to you. A low initial offer is pretty standard among shady insurance companies. This is typically where having an experienced lawyer is important. They know this and they know exactly how to support demands for a larger settlement. This is why on average, lawyers are able to be 3X the amount of settlement money that an individual without a lawyer typically gets.
Insurance Company Spying on You
The insurance company may send private investigators to watch you and claim that you are not injured, or not as injured as you claim to be. They may also be watching what you say and do on social media! So, be careful about what you post online because you may be under surveillance.
Even when it’s an obvious situation where the other party accepts 100% responsibility, the insurance companies are known for delaying payment. This is a very common tactic, especially from large insurance companies like State Farm, Farmers, Progressive, Geico, and other big name insurance companies.