Consuela: Hi Jason. I’ve been reading about how tricky insurance companies can be. If I get in an accident, what do I say to the insurance company so that it doesn’t mess anything up for me?
Jason: Thanks for your question, Consuela. To confirm, you haven’t been in an accident yet, but you’re concerned about what to say if you are involved in one, right?
Consuela: Yes. But I was almost in an accident the other day. This lady ran the stop sign and we almost crashed. I managed to stop real fast and avoid the accident. But it got me to thinking about this.
Jason: I see. Well, you do have to notify your insurance company of the accident. But you don’t have to give them a recorded statement right away. I recommend that you hire a lawyer asap before giving the recorded statement.
Consuela: What do you mean by a recorded statement?
Jason: A recorded statement is what the insurance company uses to help them understand what happened and how much of your insurance coverage should be applied. It is transcribed and written down as fact. So it can be used against you later if you’re not careful. That’s why its best to have a lawyer on your side first.
Consuela: That’s what I’m afraid of – them taking something I say and twisting it around, so it makes me look bad. So what do I tell them without getting myself in trouble?
Jason: If you do get in an accident, Consuela, I would recommend first keeping it as simple as possible. You’ll need to tell them that you were in the accident as well as some general information such as when and where it happened and who was involved.
Consuela: So I don’t have to tell them how the accident happened?
Jason: You can give the insurance agent some very basic information, but its best you don’t go into any details without first speaking with your lawyer.
Consuela: Like what kind of details should I leave out?
Jason: For example, if they ask about your injuries, I would simply say I don’t have any information on that yet. Sometimes injuries take days or weeks to surface. If you give them a statement that you feel fine, they might use it against you later. Remember, the insurance company is out to make money, not pay money.
Consuela: So basically, I only tell them a few basic facts about the accident, then I call my lawyer right away?
Jason: Yes, that would be the best approach.
Consuela: Thanks Jason!
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