Handling That First Phone Call With The Insurance Company After A Wreck

Posted on: 17 January 2020

Motor vehicle accidents can be absolutely devastating both financially and physically. It's also common to be somewhat overwhelmed and confused for a while after an accident — especially when it was serious.

That's precisely what the insurance company is counting on. You can rely on the idea that an insurance company's adjuster (or several, if the accident involved several vehicles) will soon be in touch. While the adjuster may sound like your friend on the phone, you need to remember that they're merely doing their job — and that job is to save the insurance company money.

Here's how to handle that initial phone call, convey what you need to convey, and not get burned:

1. Stick to the absolute basics that you have to discuss.

Don't tell the insurance company anything about your private life — not what you were doing before the accident or where you were going. It's very hard for the insurance company to draw conclusions about whether your fatigue following a long day or your rush to get to an appointment might have contributed to the accident without details. Stick to the bare facts that you're required to report, such as:

  • Where the accident occurred
  • What time the accident occurred
  • Who was involved in the accident

That's it. If the insurance company presses for more details, simply say, "I'm not up to discussing that right now."

2. Learn to deflect probing questions with non-answers.

The insurance company's adjuster is bound to pepper you with intrusive questions and try to get you on the record saying something that can later be used to devalue (or outright deny) your claim. Before you call, consider writing down some key responses on a sheet of paper so that you are totally prepared to deflect questions you don't want to answer. 

You should never lie to the insurance company, but you can say things like:

  • "I'm not sure what the answer is right now."
  • "I don't know if we understand exactly what injuries there are, yet."
  • "The accident is still under investigation, and I don't want to comment."

There's nothing to be gained by committing to a specific narrative. It's better to be vague than have your words twisted around and used against you later.

3. Ask questions and take plenty of notes.

You can turn the tables on the insurance company by asking a lot of questions on your own. Find out who you are speaking with, who is handling your claim, the exact process you should expect, the timeline the insurance company usually works on, how your vehicle will be repaired, and whatever else you want to know. 

While you're at it, start a journal and keep track of everything you're told and every conversation you have — just in case there are any doubts.

An auto accident attorney can help protect you against the insurance company's tricks. If you've been injured, find out more today. For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Drivon Turner & Waters PLC.