What not to tell your insurance company after a car accident (and why)
When you have an auto insurance claim, you have to be extra careful to avoid saying anything that the insurance companies can use against you.
When you are injured in a car accident, you usually have to report the accident to your insurance company. Not only is this necessary to obtain coverage for your losses, it may also be necessary to maintain your policy. Auto insurance companies generally require their policyholders to report all accidents; and, if you don’t report an accident, your insurance company may decide that it will no longer provide coverage. Lapses can be costly, so this is usually a scenario you want to avoid.
However, when you report a car accident to your insurance company, you need to be very careful. If you say things that you shouldn’t, reporting your accident could end up doing more harm than good. Your insurance company could use your own words against you, and you could very easily find yourself without the financial compensation you deserve.
7 things not to tell your insurance expert after a car accident
So what should you avoid saying when reporting a car accident to your insurance company? Here are seven things do not to tell your insurance expert:
1. You caused the accident
No matter what you were doing when the accident happened, you shouldn’t tell your adjuster that you caused the accident. There are two main reasons for this: First, if you caused the accident, it could significantly limit the amount you are entitled to recover. Second, at this point, you have no idea whether you caused the accident or not.
For example, let’s say you speed up. Was your speed in fact a factor in your crash? Or, would the accident have happened anyway? Or, let’s say you’ve been distracted. Could you (and should have) avoided the collision? Or, were you powerless to prevent the accident from happening.
To be clear, you shouldn’t denature What happened. On the contrary, you simply shouldn’t say anything at all. Your insurance company will investigate and you don’t have to admit fault, especially when you don’t yet know what in fact caused the accident.
2. You think you might have caused the accident
Just as you must not admit that you caused the accident, you also must not say that you think you were strength caused the accident. Even this is enough to create problems with your insurance claim. Instead, stick to the facts you know for sure and don’t make any assumptions that could lead to problems down the line.
3. You’re sorry
Likewise, you shouldn’t say you’re sorry. This is a natural reaction, especially for drivers who think they are (or may have been) at fault. Insurance companies know this and they won’t hesitate to extrapolate from your excuses to assume you were to blame.
Likewise, you shouldn’t apologize to anyone else involved in the crash, at least not at this time. Insurance companies can also use your statements to others against you; and, again, at this point you’re still not sure if you played a role in the crash.
4. You feel good
When you’re on the phone with your claims adjuster, you don’t have to say you’re feeling well. Even if it’s true at present, that might not be true in the days or weeks to come. Many types of crash-related injuries can cause delayed symptoms. However, if you tell your adjuster that you are feeling well, it could be much more difficult to seek compensation because your insurance company will almost certainly dispute your claim that your injuries were the result of your accident.
What to say instead? When dealing with your insurance company, you should never be afraid to say, “I don’t know”. You can also say that you are going to see a doctor (which you should), or that you are waiting for the test results (if so).
5. You will sign a medical discharge
Staying on the subject of medical care, you should refuse to sign a medical discharge for your auto insurance company. You don’t have to sign one; and, if you do, it will only work to your disadvantage. Signing a medical discharge allows your auto insurance company to get your medical records (and potentially even talk to your doctor), and it’s not something you want when dealing with injuries. traumatic injuries due to vehicle collisions.
6. You don’t have a lawyer
If you don’t have a lawyer now, you should have one. Dealing with insurance companies is do not easy, and you will need a lawyer to help you collect fair compensation. With that in mind, if your adjuster asks if you have a lawyer, you should tell them you’ll get one quickly.
7. You accept
Finally, when you are talking on the phone with your adjuster, you should never accept an offer to settle. The settlement of your claim prevents you from claiming any additional compensation. While you could finally decide to settle your claim, you should make this decision with full knowledge of your financial and non-financial losses and with the advice of an experienced lawyer.
What Should Do you tell your insurance expert?
These are some of the most important things do not inform your claims adjuster. Now what should do you say by reporting a car accident to your insurance company?
When reporting a car accident, you should strictly report the facts you know and only report the facts necessary to initiate your insurance claim. In most cases, this means that you need to provide:
- The location where the accident occurred;
- The time at which the accident occurred;
- Which insured vehicle you were driving (if you have more than one insured vehicle); and,
- Other driver’s vehicle and insurance information (if you have any).
Otherwise, keep your thoughts between you and your lawyer. Your lawyer can decide what additional information to provide to your insurance company (and when), and your lawyer can deal with your insurance company for you so that you don’t accidentally say anything that jeopardizes your claim.