Car accidents are an everyday reality across the world. In the United States, more than 10 million car accidents occur every year. Handling the fallout with insurance must be done extremely carefully. Most importantly, you need to understand what not to say to insurance after an accident.
Many, many mistakes can be made during the insurance procedure. These mistakes can have a detrimental effect on the compensation you recover. To make matters worse, you might be in shock after the accident – making the process even more difficult to navigate.
The best thing you can do is create a plan in case the situation arises. This plan should involve:
- An understanding of the insurer’s role.
- Your obligations after an accident
- What you shouldsay to your insurer
- What not to say to your insurance company after an accident
Let’s discuss this in detail, shall we?
Insurance Companies’ True Motive
You pay a premium to your car insurance provider every month to protect you in the event of an accident. Doesn’t that mean they work for you?
Yes and no. You pay your insurance company to protect your property, that’s pretty much it. They don’t work for you – and your best interests are not at the top of their list. Their primary goal is to maximize their bottom line. This means minimizing the amount they have to pay out (by all means necessary).
It doesn’t matter how good of a relationship you have with your insurance agent, they are NOT your friend after an accident. You will always need to fight for the compensation you deserve – and the insurance company has no intention of giving this to you.
Contacting Your Insurance
You are required by law to contact your insurance company after an accident occurs. In the state of Illinois, you have 10 days to report the incident. We recommend waiting until the shock wears off to contact your insurance provider. This is because you have to be extremely careful of what you tell them.
Your insurance company will ask you a series of questions – and they have no problem using your words against you to minimize what they have to pay out. The questions they ask may include (but are not limited to):
- Do you mind if we record this call?
- When did the accident happen?
- Where did the accident occur?
- Where were you going?
- Where were you coming from?
- What led to the accident?
- Who was in the other vehicle?
On the surface, these are pretty inoffensive questions. However, the answers you provide can have unintended consequences. This is why it’s so important to know what not to say to insurance after an accident.
What You SHOULD Say to Your Insurance Company
There is no avoiding questions from your insurance company. These questions need to be answered carefully and succinctly to protect yourself. Your answers will have a direct impact on how much money you recoup.
Here is how you should handle the questioning process with your insurance:
- Deny a recording– The representative will introduce themselves and may ask for permission to record the call. You have no legal obligation to agree to this. Just tell them no – you don’t have to give them a reason.
- Provide your information– The representative will ask you to verify your identity. Give them your name, address, contact information, and the vehicle involved in the accident.
- Provide the other driver’s information– The contact information of the other driver involved in the accident will be provided by the police at the scene. All you need to do is relay this to your insurance company.
- Tell them the date of the accident– All you need to tell them is the day/month/year. If you know the time it happened, you can tell them. If you aren’t sure exactly what time it was, don’t guess. Just tell them you don’t remember.
- Give them the approximate location of the accident– You don’t need to provide exact coordinates. The street and nearest intersection/cross streets will suffice.
- Provide the facts as straight as possible– When they ask what led to the accident, be honest and objective. Don’t give too many details. Keep it short and sweet.
The most important thing to remember when talking to your insurance company is to keep your answers simple. In addition to learning about the accident, the insurance company is trying to find reasons to reduce your claim. Don’t give them anything to use for this.
What NOT to Say to Your Insurance After an Accident
The conversation you have with your insurance can be potentially devastating. Keep in mind, insurance representatives are trained to ask questions that may compromise your claim.
So what should you not say to your insurance company after an accident? Let’s discuss.
- Apologizing or admitting any sort of fault – You may feel guilty after an accident, especially if you are at fault or partially at fault. Feelings of guilt after an accident are dangerous when speaking with insurance companies. Even if you feel like you are to blame for the accident, NEVER admit fault – or apologize for anything. An apology is an implication of fault and the insurance company will use that against you.
- Your opinion on the situation – You may be frustrated, scared, or angry after an accident. It’s very important not to vent any of these feelings to your insurance representative. Don’t make any assumptions about what happened or who was at fault. Just stick to the facts and only answer basic questions.
- You are not injured and feel fine – You are wise to avoid talking about injuries. Some injuries can take days – or weeks – to appear after a car accident. Telling your insurance company you are completely fine can create problems with getting medical bills and treatment covered later on. If they ask how you are feeling, tell them you are waiting to see or hear from your doctor.
- Details about your injuries – If you were injured in a car accident, DO NOT discuss it in this call. Injuries from a car accident can impact your daily life. It takes time to figure out the healing process and its ramifications. Insurance companies usually cover the costs of your injuries – as well as pain and suffering. You cannot jeopardize this.
- Super detailed answers – Details can ruin your claim very quickly. Always keep your answers short and concise. The more conversation you create, the higher the chances that you’ll inadvertently make a statement that goes against your best interests.
- Formally agreeing to anything – Never, under any circumstances, agree to a settlement or resolution. Chances are, anything an insurance representative offers you will be significantly less than what you deserve. If they ask you to accept an offer, tell them no.Your best bet is to hire a car accident attorney to fight for every penny you are owed.
This list only scratches the surface of what not to say to your insurance after an accident. The most important thing you can do is keep calm. Give short answers and spare excessive details.
Get in Touch with a Specialized Car Accident Injury Lawyer
The most important thing you can do is speak with an attorney after a car accident. This is especially true if you were injured – and the accident was not your fault. The car accident lawyer you hire is the only party truly on your side. Insurance companies are not. Your attorney will manage all the negotiations with insurance companies to earn the maximum compensation for your damages.
A lot of people believe they cannot afford a good attorney after an accident. This is not true. EVERYONE can afford to hire a car accident attorney. These lawyers work on a contingency fee agreement, meaning they collect their fee as a percentage of the settlement AFTER they win the case. You don’t pay a penny out of pocket to hire them.
If you have any questions about speaking with insurance companies about a car accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Chicago car accident lawyer from Midwest Injury Lawyers. We’re always happy to point you in the right direction, even if you don’t have a case. Call our office at (312) 786-5881 or send us a message online to get started.