Should I Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?
Insurance companies make a profit by minimizing how much they give to clients. They have many tactics they use for avoiding large payouts on clients’ claims. One of these tactics is to ask for a recorded statement in the early stages of your insurance claim. The request for a recorded statement serves one main purpose: to use it against you later to deny your claim or reduce your payment. It is generally in your best interest not to give a recorded statement to an insurance company.
What Is the Recorded Statement?
The recorded statement during an insurance claim is something the adjuster assigned to your case will ask you for, often at the very beginning of your case. An insurance company will assign an insurance claims adjuster to your case after you file. The adjuster is responsible for overseeing the processing of your claim. After investigating the facts, the adjuster is the person who recommends to the insurance company to either deny or accept your claim.
The insurance adjuster on your case will give you a call soon after your accident – sometimes as soon as the day of. When you speak to the adjuster about your case, he or she will ask you several questions about how the accident happened and how it injured you. The adjuster will ask your permission to record the call. The adjuster may phrase it in a way that sounds innocent or that makes it seem like you cannot say no. For example, the adjuster may say he or she needs your statement to continue processing the claim. This is not true.
No law in California makes it mandatory to give an insurance company a recorded statement. When asked to give one by a claims adjuster, politely decline. Keep in mind that the goal of taking down a statement is to use what you say against you to deny your claim or reduce benefits later. Giving a recorded statement typically will not help your case. If you do not feel comfortable telling a claims adjuster no or negotiating your insurance claim on your own, use an attorney for assistance.
How Can an Insurance Company Use Your Statement Against You?
An insurance claims adjuster will ask you for a recorded statement early in your case on purpose. This is a tactic used to catch you while you are frazzled from the accident or still confused as to who caused the crash. The insurance company wants you to give a statement with incomplete, incorrect or incriminating information. It wants to catch you saying something it can use to deny your claim or take money away from your payout later, such as admitting fault. If you initially think you caused a car accident, for example, and tell the insurance company this in your recorded statement, you may forfeit the right to seek benefits even if an investigation discovers someone else’s fault afterward.
What Should You Do Instead?
Do not let an insurance representative make you think you have to give a recorded statement. Remember, it is to the insurer’s advantage if you do so. Instead, refuse permission to record the phone call and explain that you will submit a written statement later instead. With a written statement, you will have the opportunity to get the facts straight, think more clearly and consult with an attorney before submitting your paperwork.
Taking your time with a written statement can allow you to control what the insurance company knows and what it does not know. Your accident lawyer can help you come up with a written statement that accurately answers the company’s questions without hurting your odds of securing compensation.
If you have already given a recorded statement to an insurance company after an accident, a lawyer may be able to help you repair any damage it might have done to your claim. Speak to an injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident for assistance with the insurance process from start to finish.