Insurance Claims – Recorded Statements!

Recorded statements for insurance claims. These usually turn out well, but the insurance adjuster may use tricks and gimmicks sometimes to get you to say things that you shouldn’t.

So keep a claims diary. If you are having problems with your claim, this will protect you, the claimant or policyholder.

Keep a journal or a legal pad handy and note down everything that happens every day during the claim process. Never trust your memory.

Write down your claim when you talk to someone about it.

Let’s discuss recorded statements and your claims journal.

Recorded statements are an important part of the claims process. Most claims adjusters prefer to obtain a recorded statement from all parties involved in the loss as early as possible in the claims process. This allows for the claim details to be fresh in everyone’s minds and can be documented more precisely. Do not be afraid to be recorded.

If the claims adjuster calls you and asks for a recorded statement by telephone, tell him politely that you would prefer to meet in person. It is best to meet with the adjuster at your lawyer’s office and then give the recorded statement in front of the attorney. Even the most uncooperative and moody adjusters can be at their best when they are accompanied by an attorney.

You can simply request that the examiner or insurance adjuster only records telephone statements.

An adjuster will bring his portable tape recorder to record an interview in person. For your protection, you should bring a portable tape recorder to tape the interview. A hand-sized cassette recorder can be purchased at any electronics or discount department store… even major drugstore chains – for as low as $40.00 They can use standard cassette tapes or batteries. They work well and are about the same price as microcassette recorders. At the interview, make sure you bring plenty of batteries and some cassette tapes.

Do not give any additional information to the adjuster while he is recording your statement. Answer only the question he asked.

Some questions are not worthy of an answer.

Are you familiar with the situation? You answered the question to make sure they weren’t thinking you were rude. Later, you found yourself hating yourself for being a “doormat”.

People have a natural need to be kind. Adjusters profit from people’s desire to be kind. Adjusters are well aware that most people will answer any question that seems reasonable, even if it isn’t relevant to their claim. You should not answer personal questions that are not relevant to your claim. It may not be pertinent to your claim to ask questions about your income or your Social Security number. If you are making a claim to your lost wages, questions about your income are inappropriate.

Adjusters will ask you for your Social Security Number so that they can search the Claimsearch database. If you want to see what the Claimsearch homepage looks like, go to:

Claimsearch allows you to search for information that will show you if you have ever filed an insurance claim. Adjusters and claim examiners have access to all data about you by providing your Social Security number. ALL THIS WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION.

If an adjuster asks you a question that you are uncomfortable answering, politely answer “I’d prefer not to answer that question.” Sometimes adjusters ask inappropriate questions. Be sure the adjuster is only asking questions that are relevant to the incident or loss. The adjuster will be more helpful if you are present at an attorney’s office during the recording of your statement.

Electronic stores that sell cassette recorders will also stock a pick-up microphone. This plugs into your cassette recorder, and has a suction cup to stick to your phone handset. The sound quality is generally excellent.

I am not suggesting that you do anything illegal or unethical. Check your state’s laws regarding recording conversations. Some states prohibit recording conversations unless both the parties consent. If only one party is aware that the conversation will be recorded, some states allow it.

Be aware of the law and your rights

It’s not unusual for adjusters to refuse to record conversations. This doesn’t mean you have to accept their refusal. Either insist on recording or politely decline to speak with the person. If the person refuses to be recorded, however, it should still tell you something about them.

You control when and where you take calls regarding your claim. Some adjusters try to balance the insured by calling at odd times like late night or early morning. If you are not available to record the call, let the person know and schedule a time to call back. Keep your appointments.

It is possible that you think this author is a paranoid kook. Let me assure you, I am. However, I have seen many situations where an adjuster recorded a statement and then wrote a summary statement that was not the same as the tape. I have seen police officers incorrectly describe an accident in their accident report. I have seen court testimony in which the adjuster and insured are interrogated about an incident and their stories are totally different.

All that is left behind are recordings of conversations.

It’s too late to report a lie or a cheating partner after you have had a problem.

It is better to be safe than sorry. You could be charged thousands of dollars for being sorry. Keep a claims diary.