How to Talk to Insurance Companies
Updated: May 22
Communicating with insurance adjusters after an accident or injury can be intimidating and frustrating. The more you are informed about the process, the less stressful the experience will be. Below are a few things to consider when speaking with either your own insurer or any other insurance company after an accident or injury.
1. Contact your own insurance company as soon as possible. Many people hesitate to do this, especially if they are at fault for an accident or injury. But you purchase insurance for this very reason! Notify your own insurance company about the accident or incident as soon as possible, whether you are at fault or not. Your insurance company has tools to investigate the claim and will work with the other party’s insurance company to handle the claim.
2. Understand your relationship to your own insurer. Your insurance company is not necessarily on your side. Most insurance companies are publicly traded. This means that their allegiance is (and must be) to their shareholders, not to you as a policyholder. If your policy has coverage exclusions that apply to your circumstances, your own insurance company will deny coverage to you even though it is against your interests! Insurance companies are not in the business of losing money and will seek to avoid covering a claim if it is legally justified.
3. Be organized. Insurance claims generate lots of paper. You will likely receive multiple mailings from both your insurer and any other insurer involved in the case with various forms and letters. Try to keep all of this paper in one place – at least until you speak to a lawyer. Also, try to keep any other documents like medical records, medical bills, police reports, or witness information in the same place. This will allow you to have all of the information you need in front of you when an insurance company calls you. Finally, keep your own notes about calls with insurance companies, witnesses, or others involved in the incident.
4. Be absolutely honest about the facts. “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything” – Mark Twain. This should go without saying. When discussing the facts of the incident, be honest about what you remember, and don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” Questions by insurance adjusters are not memory tests. Insurance companies need to gather information about the incident so they can evaluate coverage issues, analyze possible losses as a result of the incident, and find out who else was involved.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most people do not deal with insurance claims on a daily basis. Insurance concepts, the claims process, and insurance “lingo” are likely unfamiliar to you. That’s ok! If you do not understand what an insurance adjuster is telling you, ask for clarification.
6. Be polite. As frustrating as insurance claims can be, it is important to be polite when talking to an insurance adjuster. Yelling or insulting an adjuster does nothing to expedite your claim. Nothing happens overnight when you are dealing with insurance. Try to be patient, raise your concerns in a calm manner, and keep in mind that most insurance adjusters are just doing their job. They have a chain of command and often need supervisor approval to do certain things.
Attorneys who practice personal injury are extremely familiar with insurance practices and the claims process. If you are having a difficult time with an insurance claim, consider giving me a call. I’d be happy to discuss your case with you in a free consultation.