Recorded Statement – Do I Have to Give One After a Car Accident?

Recorded statements are a guarantee step in the claim investigative process.

Insurance adjusters will call you to request your statements about the accident. Many people believe they are required to provide these statements in order for insurance companies to cover the loss. While most insurance companies include Cooperation Clauses within their policies, they cannot require that you give a recorded statement in case of an automobile accident.

The Constitution grants you the right not to testify against anyone and allows you to remain silent. The right to self-incrimination is protected even in murder trials. The same principle applies to car accidents. There is no way to limit coverage or require you to give evidence.

It is completely voluntary to give a recorded statement. The insurance company should not tell you otherwise. If they inform you that your policy has a cooperation clause, you can then tell them that you will comply by giving a verbal explanation (the same statement but not recorded).

The cooperation clause requires that you assist the insurance company in its investigation. The cooperation clause does not require you to give a recorded statement. If they seem too pushy, ask them to write down their requirements and compare it with your policy.

Benefits vs. Harms of a Recorded Declaration

Your insurance company will be better able to document your file. If there is a dispute over fault and the case goes to arbitration it will likely be viewed by an arbitrator as better evidence than a file that does not contain a recording. Arbitrators have ruled that one person’s account of events is “more convincing” if they can record their statements.

A “bad recorded statement” could lead to many problems, including delay in the investigation into something you have said that could block coverage, complete denial or coverage, fault being construed and/or your words being taken against you.

If you feel that recording a statement is necessary, consider giving it to only your own insurance company. If you are asked by the insurance carrier of another party for a recorded declaration, they should contact your insurance company to “share” the tape. This will allow you to only give one statement and ensure that the person questioning you is your insurance company (the one protecting you).

Here are 10 top tips to help you prepare for a recorded speech:

1. Make sure you have time to talk. You should reserve at least an hour.

2. Make sure is time that work s for you and the adjuster’s. Don’t do it before your adjuster is finished lunch. They will rush you to get off the tape before you have a chance to explain your view fully.

3. All information should be at your fingertips. You should have the following information: Names, addresses, insurance officers, and the report of the police.

4. Read your police before hand. You’ll be able to understand why the adjuster asks what questions, and whether they are trying to deny you a claim.

5. You should tell the adjuster that you are only willing to give the statement if they can provide you with a transcription. You must write this down on the tape.

6. Remember that you can decline to answer any question for any reason at anytime. Simply say it. Personal reasons are the reason I can’t answer.

7. You can also tell the adjuster that the recording will be made. This is a great way to get them on their best behavior.

8. Answer only what they asked you. If they ask you what color is the sun, then answer only that question. Answering the question should be “What color is the sun?”.

9. If the question is subjective, you can decline to answer. Or, simply ask the adjuster specifically what they are looking.

10. Be polite and respectful. You will likely be sided by the supervisor of the adjuster if they’re rude or anxious. However, if they are rude or anxious, the adjuster’s supervisor will likely side with you.