10 Secrets That Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know
I am Chris Heavens. I have been a litigation and personal injury attorney since 1991. As a young attorney, I represented insurance companies and corporations. I witnessed their legal operations and tactics from the inside. Many times I took their cases to trial. I gained a unique understanding of the strategies they use to limit the amount of money that they pay out on claims. I learned firsthand the secrets that they don’t want you to know. Here are ten of the most important.
First, insurance companies do not want you to hire an attorney because they know studies show they will have to pay you more money. To discourage you from hiring an attorney, they may characterize attorneys as greedy, lazy, unnecessary, and any other number of adjectives (these adjectives may be accurate to describe some attorneys, so be careful who you hire). When they tell you that you don’t need an attorney to help you, ask them why they have attorneys on retainer to help them.
Second, the insurance adjuster is not your friend. They are in business to make money. The less money they pay you, the more money they make. Adjusters may seem pleasant, and on a personal level they may even seem to care about you, but they don’t get job promotions for paying you more money.
Third, insurance adjusters try to get recorded statements and signed medical authorizations from you for 2 main reasons. First, they want you to make a statement like “I am not that hurt” or “it could have been my fault.” Second, they want to get full access to all of your medical records to try to find something they can use against you. Both will be used to pay you less.
Fourth, an insurance adjuster may say things that they know to be untrue just to see if you buy it. They may say things like you aren’t entitled to claim a back injury if you had back problems before the accident. They may say that you aren’t entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, prescriptions, lost wages and loss of vehicle use. They will say that you can’t be injured if your vehicle impact was minor.
Fifth, an insurance adjuster is a trained negotiator. He/she will attempt to play you like a poker pro. You will hear things like, “that’s my best offer,” “if you don’t agree to accept this offer in 24 hours, its off the table,” “you’ll get less after an attorney takes his fee,” and “our analysis of your medical bills shows your pain is related to an old back injury.”
Sixth, insurance companies do want to settle your case, but they may pretend they don’t care if it goes to court. Unfortunately, until you have an attorney, they will be discounting the value of your case not only by what you would be paying an attorney out of your settlement, but often by other values for items that they say are not covered by insurance (SEE: 4th Secret).
Seventh, when dealing with an insurance adjuster, you are essentially dealing with their insurance attorneys. The adjuster has often been trained in programs put together by top insurance negotiators and attorneys who know the law, who know psychology, and who know how to pay you the least amount of money they can get by with paying you.
Eighth, insurance companies have doctors they regularly use to deny claims or pay less on claims. If you provide them with your medical records, these doctors will go through your records to try to find anything that they can use to say you had a pre-existing injury or that your injury is not as bad as your treating doctor says.
Ninth, insurance companies don’t advertise on television all of the time because they aren’t making money. If they weren’t making money, they wouldn’t advertise (although this may no longer be true of financial institutions that have gone bankrupt on Wall Street).
Tenth, insurance companies spend millions of dollars on lobbyists and politicians to get laws passed limiting your right to sue wrongdoers. Giving wrongdoers protection is bad public policy and the millions spent could be better used to reduce premiums for the very people whose rights they seek to limit.
Chris Heavens graduated from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, and West Virginia University College of Law in Morgantown, WV. Consult with him for free at: 1-866-HEAV LAW