Insurance companies want to save as much money as possible when handling insurance claims. It is common for insurance companies to reward employees who reduce settlement payouts, and replace those who do not. They may use several tactics to undermine your case, therefore reducing your claim value.
Contact You Within 24 Hours
Insurance companies will do their best to contact you as soon as possible after the accident. Your body may not feel the full extent of your injuries until 24-72 hours after the accident. Adjusters know this and take advantage of this fact by initiating contact early on. By taking your statement of health at this time, your response will inaccurately represent the full extent of your injuries and you’re more likely to state that you are uninjured. Once you have stated that you are uninjured, you’ll have a more difficult time getting compensation for your injuries.
Adjusters may not deny liability upon initial contact but when you’ve finished medical treatment and it’s time for them to pay up, they might sing a different tune. They may claim that they are only able to cover a fraction of your medical bills and support this statement by putting part of the blame for the accident upon you. If they can prove that part of the liability falls upon you by law they can reduce your settlement amount.
Offer Quick Settlements
When the insurance adjuster cannot deny liability, they’ll change their tactics to focus on reducing payment as much as possible. Commonly, adjusters will offer you a settlement early on in the process. They may even show up at the hospital or your home to offer you a settlement.
At this point in the process, you’ll be uncertain of your financial future and without the prospect of help, you’re vulnerable to accept a lower settlement amount. By accepting this amount, you give up your right to pursue further compensation despite how much debt/expenses/financial hardship later comes from the car accident.
Give Arbitrary Deadlines
Insurance adjusters may provide an arbitrary deadline for which you must accept the settlement. This tactic often is applied before you’ve been able to calculate your total losses and received all of your necessary treatment. Overall, you shouldn’t enter negotiations for settlement unless you’ve completed medical treatment and healed from your injuries.
Dispute Personal Injury Claims
They attempt to blame your injury on a pre-existing condition or previous injury. Adjusters accomplish this by having you sign a medical release form to gain access to your medical bills. This is their attempt to gain access to your full medical history and view previous conditions or injuries. When you sign a medical release form and you don’t modify the time period upon which they can view your records, insurance adjusters may view the entirety of your medical history.
They use this tactic to increase your aggravation and mentally break you down. The more delays in your settlement, the more likely you are to accept less money in order to get things over with. Additionally, once your claim has exceeded the two-year limitation, you’re legally barred from bringing a lawsuit against an insurance company. Therefore, they can flat-out deny your claim.
Request Recorded Statements
Insurance companies utilize recorded statements to negate your claims. If you make a statement regarding fault or lack of injury, these can be used against you. If you admit to fault on the recording, the insurance company can claim that they are not liable for some or all of your damages. Often adjuster will include the question “How are you feeling?” or another question of the like. If you answer that you’re okay or state that you’re uninjured, you may have a more difficult time receiving compensation.
Misrepresent the Available Coverage Amount
The insurance adjuster may not be honest about the amount of funds available in their insured party’s policy.
Misrepresent the Law
Adjusters may tell you that you’re not entitled to damages for pain and suffering or put limitations on what you can recover. If you’ve missed work, they may inform you that you’re not entitled to lost wages. They purposefully use their knowledge to try and take advantage of your lack of knowledge about how their policies and laws work.
Require Medical Release Forms
You do not need to sign a medical release form in order for your insurance company to obtain copies of your medical bills. By having a signed medical release form, your insurance adjuster can obtain proof of prior injuries, complaints of pain, and other information that can invalidate your claim.
Discriminate by Credit Score
More commonly, companies use credit reports to dictate the premiums their policyholders will pay and determine if they can even receive insurance. Companies have denied cash-paying clients who didn’t have a good credit score. Other clients have seen their auto rate increase by values as high as 600% after falling on economic troubles. These increases still occurred even though the drivers had clean driving records.
Computer Claim Evaluation
Previously, insurance adjusters would review medical records and other documents to determine your fair claim value. However, with advances in technology, computer programs now determine claim values. This program crunches numbers through over ten thousand programmed rules and parameters and will provide a slanted bottom-line claim value.
Cut Claim Costs
Insurance executives favor software programs that produce low claim estimates which increase their company profit. By paying less than full claim value on property damage and other claims, these systems saved one company $15 million in a single year.