Do you have to give the insurance company's adjuster a recorded statement?
Short answer: Some you do and some you don’t. In those instances where you do you should be prepared by a lawyer who can teach you to understand the process and the tricks adjusters employ.
Why does the insurance adjuster want to take my statement?
There are just two reasons and neither is what they will tell you are the reasons.
Reason #1: Find a reason to deny the claim.
Reason #2: If there is no reason to deny the claim, then find a reason to pay less than the law allows.
There are several principles at work here and you need to understand them before undertaking the process of giving a recorded statement.
- Assumption #1: The adjuster will strive to be fair with me.
- Principle #1: Adjusting claims isn’t about being fair – it’s about paying less. And my guess is all adjusters agree with this statement. The adjuster’s underlying goal in any case is to find a reason to deny the claim; even legitimate ones.
- Assumption #2: The insurance company is on my side.
- Principle #2: All you can assume is that the adjuster, even though friendly, is not your friend. An insurance adjuster’s loyalty is to the insurance company’s bottom line which is boosted by paying little or nothing in every case.
- Assumption #3: Insurance adjusters after listening to me will see me as an honest person and want to help me.
- Principle #3: Adjusting claims has little or nothing to do with honesty. Insurance adjusters want honest people to say anything that will help them to deny the claim. They assume two things: One you will be honest and two you are ignorant of the law.
- Assumption #4: A complete disclosure can be made by just talking.
- Principle #4: Adjusters are professionals and as one they want you to talk about everything and anything going on in your life so you will say something/anything prejudicial to your case. Even if it is not relevant they will want to spin everything you say as an admission against your claim.
- Assumption #5: The insurance adjuster will tell me if I am saying things I don’t need to tell them.
- Principle #5: Wrong! The insurance adjuster doesn’t represent you. Keep that in mind. They are not on your side, not your friend and certainly not advocating for you to recover even one thin dime.
- Assumption #6: The adjuster will help me to understand how to prove my claim.
- Principle #6: No they will not help you to prove your claim. Not even when you are talking to the adjuster for your own insurance company. The more ignorant you are the better to deceive you. So why in Heaven’s would they ever help you to understand the law of insurance claims? They won’t, don’t and will never assist you. Why? Because you are not their client and the interest of the insurance company is the complete polar opposite of your interest.
- Assumption #7: The adjuster for my insurance company represents me.
- Principle #7: No they do not. Only a lawyer representing you can give you legal advice.
- Assumption #8: Since I paid the premium my insurance is in place to cover my losses.
- Principle #8: This is not true. Paying the premium does not guarantee your claim will be paid, only that it will be considered. Remember all the fine print in the insurance policy? You remember it is the one you never read and don’t understand. Yeah, that one, the one with all the fine print that includes so many exceptions that even Warren Buffett with a net worth of over $63 Billion would have a hard time understanding.
- Assumption #9: Insurance companies with friendly commercials treat people fairly.
- Principle #9: Those commercials are to fool you so you won’t believe all the people who were screwed before you and whose claims were denied and who now hate this company. It is why most insurance companies change their names from time to time and put high risk people in subsidiaries with names that are difficult to remember. That way when their claims get denied as a matter of routine business you won’t associate it with the homespun commercial names they use in mass marketing.
- Assumption #10: I am so honest that everyone will want me to be compensated.
- Principle #10: If you think this is true then let me sell you a great piece of land on Ten Mile Island.
Adjusting claims isn’t about being fair – it’s about paying less and no, not even the adjuster from your own car insurance company is on your side; I don't care what the commercial says.
Summary – the devil is in the details.
Okay, let's get back to reality. There are two reasons for wanting to take your statement and neither is in your best interest.
Goal 1: See if they can get you to say something that gives them a reason to deny your claim.
Goal 2: See if they can get you to say something that allows them to pay you less than the law reasonably requires.
The adjuster get's bragging rights at the office if he accomplishes either of these goals.
So you may wonder if I am correct there can only be two reasons to talk to you? After more than 30 years I know I'm right. How about if someone, anyone in the whole wide world, proves me wrong by finding me the name of a single adjuster; just one, not two, just one person that fits the mold.
Here is all you have to do to prove me wrong: Name me one adjuster, who has ever said to someone filing a claim, “No I can’t pay you what you asked for because it is not enough. You are owed more.”
Adjuster: “How much do you want to settle your claim?"
Claimant: “Well, how about a $1,000.00 for the pain and suffering?”
Adjuster: “A $1,000.00? No I can’t pay you that much, it wouldn’t be fair. You’re entitled to more than what you’ve asked me to pay you. How about if I pay you more than you asked for, would you accept more?”
Okay this is your chance to beat me in an argument. Just find me a place on one insurance company website that lists for those who are injured the categories of damages. Things like the wage loss, loss of value of a car after an accident, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering or emotional distress. In fact find me one insurance company website that tells you how to submit a claim for these types of damages. Now get going it's a big world out there.
If you ever find that adjuster let me know otherwise call me for help with your personal injury or workers’ compensation case.
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