Although insurance companies have obligations to their clients, it is critical to understand that their primary motive is profit. One way that they do this is by minimizing the amount they pay out in claims, sometimes in not the most honest ways. Below are five shady tactics used by insurance companies in Houston.
- Offering Quick Lowball Settlements
Offering a quick lowball settlement that prevents you from claiming more later is one of the common shady tactics used by Texas insurance companies. The insurance company may exaggerate the urgency of your claim and pressure you to act fast if you want the settlement that they are offering you. They may use terms like “limited-time offer” to apply pressure.
There are two main reasons that insurance companies use this strategy. First, they want to pay you as little money as possible before you know the full extent and nature of your injuries. Secondly, they want to prevent you from hiring a personal injury attorney to assist you with your claim. Many insurance companies will not come to the table with a fair and reasonable settlement offer until an experienced and aggressive attorney gets involved. The first offer is almost never their best, and it is usually a lot less than the amount you are rightfully entitled to. An experienced attorney knows what a good offer should include.
- Delaying Claims
Insurance companies delay claims as a strategy to frustrate claimants and encourage them into accepting the first lowball offer. An accident and all the associated medical and other bills put many individuals in a vulnerable financial position. When insurance companies delay, they take advantage of clients who need money quickly.
A common method of delay includes waiting long periods before returning calls and answering questions. Communication with your insurance company should be frequent and relatively easy. In addition, an insurance company may continually ask you to provide additional and unnecessary information and documentation.
- Sneaking Waivers, Authorizations, or Releases into Forms
When you initially contact your insurance adjuster, they may try to get you to sign a bunch of forms. Within this paperwork, the adjuster may sneak in a medical authorization giving the insurance company “carte blanche” to look into your past medical history. Insurance companies want this information so they can make the excuse that your claim is based on a pre-existing condition and, therefore, should be denied. In addition, they may try to include various waivers and releases.
It is critical to read everything the insurance company gives you to sign. If you have any questions or concerns, you should reach out to a local Houston insurance claims attorney.
- Asking Incomplete or Misleading Questions
Insurance adjusters are trained to make you think that they are friendly, genuinely concerned, and eager to help. Their goal is for you to let your guard down and tell them more than is required. They can then use any statement you make against you and twist innocuous statements into admissions of liability. For example, they may start the conversation by asking how you are feeling with the hope that you will say “good” or “okay.” They will use this statement as evidence that you were not hurt in the accident. Don’t let the warm personality of an insurance agent lure you into making statements that will undercut your claim.
Although you have an obligation to talk to and reasonably cooperate with your own insurance company, you should be cautious about speaking with the other’s driver’s insurance company. You should never give a recorded or written statement to the other’s driver’s insurance company.
Your insurance company may spy on you and gather evidence to argue that you are not as injured as you claim. They may look into your social media accounts, so it is a smart idea to change your pages to private and be careful of anything you post.
The insurance company could go as far as to send private investigators to your home or business. They will observe and make a note of any activities you perform (i.e., pushing a trash can to the curb, carrying groceries, or playing with your children outside).
Your Houston Insurance Claim Attorney
If you have questions about an insurance claim, call the Paxton Law Firm. Don’t let the tactics by insurance companies leave you with an unfair settlement. Let us review your case and advise you of your rights. The Paxton Law Firm believes in taking the stress of dealing with your insurance claims and turning a negative situation into the best possible outcome lady justice allows. We offer free consultations, and you do not pay any legal fees until we recover for you.