This Guide is intended as a reference for those who have Claims with Insurance Companies and are Asked to Submit to Recorded States
1. Hire an Attorney!
I cannot stress how important this is. An experienced insurance attorney will be on the phone with you, and will interject to protect your rights.
Listen to what your Attorney says! If he directs you not to answer a question it is for a reason!
Remember, adjusters will often warn you that failure to answer a question could result in a denial of your Claim. They will attempt to intimidate you, while trying to make your Attorney seem as if he is hurting your Claim.
Trust your Attorney! There have been many times where an Adjuster will ask my Client for his social security number, which they are not entitled to (Art. I, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution).
There have been other instances where irrelevant questions, such as "[h]ow many persons live in the domicile?" are asked. These question are not related to the claim, and are intended to elicit information that can be used to deny the Claim due to falsifying your insurance application.
2. Do Not Volunteer Information
Take one second, and breathe. Answer the question which is asked by the Adjuster,
If the Adjuster asks, "'[d]o you know the color of your car?" - the correct answer is either Yes or No.
Often, the average person will answer that question with. "[y]es, it's blue!"
When you volunteer information, you are doing the work for the insurance company. They must conduct a thorough investigation. Furthermore, when these "word vomit" attacks occur, they usually lead to irrelevant information that the Adjuster will pounce on to justify a denial (e.g. "Well, twelve years ago a shingle fell off my roof, but I don't think that could have affected my kitchen pipes...")
(I understand the last statement made no sense - but those response actually occur. Please refrain from tangents!)
3. You Are Not An Expert! (Always Defer)
Always defer to the professionals if asked what the cause of the Loss was (unless blatantly obvious).
You are not an Electrician. You are not a Plumber. You are not an Engineer. You are not a Public Adjuster. You are not a Mold Expert.
Do not make statements you are unqualified to make. Do not state that the cause of a leak is due to bad piping. A plumber and engineer must determine this. It may very well be that a drain-line backup cause pressure to build with enough strength to break even the strongest of pipes.
When you make unqualified statements, you run the risk of impeaching your experts and defeating your claim!
You may think you know the cause of the damage to your property, but you are not an expert. Let the experts do their job.
4. NEVER Guess
If you do not know the answer to a question, do not be afraid to say "I don't know."
When Adjusters hear this response, they will often try to instill shame into Clients by reacting incredulously. "How could you not know when [Insert Generic Household Appliance Here] was [Installed/Removed/Repaired]?!"
Guess what - most people don't remember what they ate for dinner three days ago, let alone some of the questions I have heard asked.
When you guess an answer, you are lying. You are trying to please the Adjuster. Do Not Guess!
*If you must guess, make sure to qualify your answer with "I Guess" or "If I Had to Speculate.."
5. Always Tell the Truth
After I have prepared my Clients for the recorded statement, I always end on the same note:
"Always Tell The Truth."
Lies will catch up to you. Guessing will catch up to you. But, if you are honest, the Experts and Attorney will be able to explain any inconsistencies.
It is fine if you tell the Adjuster, "Pipes looked brown, but I don't know what that mean, I'm no expert," because it is TRUE!
It is not fine if you tell the Adjuster, "The Pipes were definitely old and the accident happened because they were rusty," because this is a LIE!
- Unless you have performed a scientific analysis on the composition of the metal/steel on the hypothetical pipes, you cannot know for a fact that they were rusty or old.
- Unless you have conducted a thorough investigation, using the concepts of thermodynamics as applied to the construction and engineering of the hypothetical pipes, you cannot know for a fact that they were "faulty."
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