Many people find themselves in an unenviable position where they have to sue their own auto insurance company to get claims that they have always thought was theirs by right, even after promptly paying their insurance premiums. Most people simply want their insurers to do what they promised in the event of a crash – repair their damaged cars, pay medical bills if there is a need to see a doctor and compensate them for lost wages. However, many of them go into a mode of shock when they find that they have to work hard for it – numerous phone calls and personal visits to the insurer and as a last course of action, calling on a lawyer.
But is all this really necessary? Why should people be lied to, ignored and even threatened and intimidated? It would not be if insurers companies discussed all clauses with you and did not hide most of them in fine print in the contract.
Here are a few of the secrets auto insurance companies do not want you to know and would rather give you a piece of discouraging advice –
- Hiring attorneys – Auto Insurance companies will try and stop you from hiring an attorney. They know that once you do so, they’ll have to pay more than they would normally have to. You will hear a variety of reasons from them – that hiring an attorney will cost you the earth, that your case once it gets to court will drag on for ever and other similar reasons. However, you can silence them by enquiring why they hire a retainer in the first place. Most often than not, simply by informing them that you are planning to see a lawyer if you do not get what was mentioned in the contract in full, you can be sure that you will be offered a better deal. Remember that an adjuster is not your friend, he is there to make money and the less they pay you, the more they will make
- Getting recorded statements – You will often see that insurance adjusters will try and get recorded statements from you; something on the lines of you being “not that hurt” or the cause of the accident could “possibly have been your fault”. Both types of statements will be used against you to sanction lower claim amounts. Even devious means may be employed to gain access to your medical reports to see if some issues can be raised against you for the same reason. Further, a whole lot of enquiries will be done of which most were not raised when you signed the contract. For example, if you have bought the car in question second hand in the State of Victoria, do you have a roadworthy certificate in Melbourne or even if you do, has it been issued by an approved service station and garage like Western Auto Services. The reason why the adjusters were not as scrupulous before as now is simply because they had to get your policy then and it is payback time now.
- Not giving correct picture – There are many things that an adjuster will inform you, just to check if you fall for it. Some of them are ridiculous and some have an edge of seriousness to them. This is one reason why most adjusters would love to see your medical records when you file a claim. A few cases will help illustrate this trend better. Suppose you have a back injury in a collision and you reveal that you have had back problems for long, an attempt might be made to link the two! You might be told that you are not entitled for compensation for suffering, prescriptions or lost wages. Even a claim for injury might be disregarded in case of a minor accident since the impact was insignificant. The way to change the tone and tenor of the adjuster in sanctioning claims is to hire a professional lawyer to look into the matter.
Finally, be aware of doctors on medical boards of auto insurance companies. They are used to lower the importance of your injuries or to access your medical records and refuse claims on the grounds of pre-existing ailments.