Thursday, November 05, 2009
Have an insurance claim? Watch your language.
When making an insurance claim, what you say can mean the difference between a fast payment check and a nightmarish process, as reported by Kat Zeman for insure.com.
In the unfortunate event you find yourself in need of making an insurance claim, choose your words carefully to help move your legitimate claim along swiftly and possibly avoid a claim denial. The language you use to describe an event or situation may have vastly different meanings in the insurance world, and may trigger a red flag.
Say for instance a pipe broke in your home which resulted in 2 feet of standing water in your basement. While you may be tempted to describe your basement as being "flooded", an insurance company's definition of flood is water from a nearby lake, stream, river or other body of water. And unless you have flood insurance, a flood by the insurance companies' definition would not be covered.
Other phrases to avoid may include "in my opinion". Instead, stick to the facts and avoid estimation of things such as speed and distances, as rarely can you accurately account for these things just after an accident.
Another trigger to avoid is "I'm sorry" which can be interpreted as an admission of guilt before all the facts have been determined. Try to keep emotions out of the conversation and describe what happened as best you can. Zeman advises, "if you're not sure about how something happened, let the authorities and insurance companies figure it out."
Of course, lying to your insurance company or misrepresenting facts is fraud--which will surely result in your claim being denied--but using the right words to accurately describe your problem is important, says Zeman.