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Tactics Auto Insurance Companies Use To Deny Claims

August 23, 2022 | Jany Martinez Ward
Tactics Auto Insurance Companies Use To Deny Claims

When you file a claim with an insurance company, there’s a good chance you’ll get more from them than you’ve paid them. Insurance companies make money by subsidizing this risk. Customers who pay every month and never file a claim help pay the costs of those who file claims. Because of this, the insurance company you pay every month isn’t thrilled about having to fulfill their end of the bargain should the need to file a claim arise. They’ll try any number of tricks to pay you as little as possible, limit the amount they lose from your claim, and maximize the amount they get to keep from drivers who don’t need to file a claim.

Auto Insurance Companies Will Try To Deny or Reduce Your Claim Using These Tactics

While we can all relate to wanting to spend less money, it isn’t fair that insurance companies do it at your expense. This is not an exhaustive list, but it can help you better spot how insurance companies trick customers into accepting less money than they deserve.

Denying Some or All Liability

It may appear to you that your insurance claim is straightforward. It’s probably obvious to anyone who hears the details that the other driver was liable. So you may be shocked when the other driver’s insurance agency tells you they don’t recognize the liability and won’t pay. They could do this for several reasons, which may or may not be valid. If you take no for an answer without requiring them to prove anything, they get away with paying nothing. They have little to lose by trying this tactic.

The insurance company may claim that your damages existed before the accident. If the police report didn’t state who was at fault, they may deny liability until you prove that the other driver did indeed cause the accident. Whatever the reason they give for denying the claim, it’s always good to speak with a lawyer to see if the excuse is valid or if the company is just trying to save money.

Delaying Payment

Delaying payment in one way or another is a common strategy employed by insurance companies. Doing so provides them with two benefits. Insurance payouts are usually large sums of money. The longer that money sits in their bank accounts, the more interest it accrues. Over a large enough number of claims, this interest adds up. Meanwhile, your need for money to cover expenses could become dire. The greater your need for money, the more likely you are to take a lower settlement amount should they offer one.

They can get away with this because the average person doesn’t deal with insurance companies frequently. They don’t know how long the payment should take. Having an experienced lawyer handling your insurance communication gives you a champion who knows which delays are acceptable and which aren’t.

Misrepresenting Benefits

Getting the most out of your insurance claim requires a full understanding of the options available to you. An insurance adjuster could directly misrepresent aspects of the policy to pay less. They might also avoid telling you about items you could claim or ways that you could increase the amount of money you receive from your claim. Like the previous example, this tactic relies on your ignorance of the nuances of the insurance system. Of course, an experienced attorney can negate this lack of experience and work to prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of you.

Requiring Unnecessary Information

You’ve probably seen countless TV shows and movies where a character demands to have a lawyer read a contract before they sign anything. There’s a good reason for that, and it also applies to insurance companies. The adjuster will send you many documents to sign before receiving your payout. Many of these are legitimate parts of the process that the insurance company needs before moving forward. Sometimes, however, they are documents that can hurt your case. If you don’t know how to read and understand the often confusing language contained therein, you could end up signing something you shouldn’t.

Pretending to Be on Your Side

Insurance companies want to catch you off guard. In addition to requiring unnecessary information, they’ll act like they’re on your side. They’ll guide you through filling out forms and answer any questions. Getting your guard down like this accomplishes two things for them. First, it allows them to ask you questions in a way that may allow them to deny the claim. Second, by seemingly making the process as easy as possible, they minimize the chances you’ll seek an attorney’s help.

Offering a Low Settlement

We’ve already looked at ways an insurance company could prime you to accept a lower offer. Whether they do it after a string of other dirty tricks or lowball you right from the start, you shouldn’t accept less than you deserve. Whether you are dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own, this can happen. It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer who can examine your case's facts and estimate how much your case is worth. That way, you can recognize when an insurance company may be trying to pull a fast one with their offer.

How can an attorney protect my personal injury or car accident claim?

Insurance companies can take advantage of people who don’t have a lawyer representing them. When a car accident attorney is fighting on your behalf, they can handle all communications with the insurance company for you. Most of the time, insurance companies won’t even bother playing games with an attorney. The experienced team at Ward Law can help. Contact us today to have one of our attorneys protect your rights during an insurance claim.

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Jany Martinez Ward

Jany Martínez-Ward is a Founding and Managing Partner of The Ward Law Group, PL, a Florida law firm representing victims of car accidents. She focuses her practice on providing legal representation to Hispanic clients that have become injured in a car accident as a result of the negligence of others. In 2018, The National Trial Lawyers Association recognized Jany as one of the top attorneys in the state and among the top 40 under 40 attorneys.


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