When Attorneys Say Dont Talk to the Insurance Company Without First Speaking to Your Attorney After an Accident or Other “Loss”, That Includes Your Own Insurance Company Too!! Here’s Why…
Although people seem to have gotten the message that they should never speak with the opposing insurance company or any of its representatives without first speaking to their attorney, this message has been lost when it comes to their own insurance company.
I have recently come across several examples where one’s own words and statements, one’s own insurance company, have had devastating results. It starts like this:
The insured / policy holder gets into an accident or has his/her vehicle stolen or someone borrows the vehicle and gets into an accident, etc. etc…The policy holder thinks his/her own car insurance company works for them, so he or she speaks freely with his/her car insurance adjusters, investigators, 3rd party appraisers and anyone else who will listen SO LONG AS they are with the policy holder’s OWN insurance company. The common thinking is that one’s own insurance company is there to cover YOU, help YOU, pay YOU to fix your car or get medical treatment, because…after all…you pay THEM thousands and thousands of dollars in annual premiums right? In several recent examples, the words and statements of the policy holder himself / herself have resulted in a DENIAL OF INSURANCE COVERAGE under his or her OWN auto insurance policy.
The truth is that even though your car insurance company insures you, it is looking for any and every reason it can use to DENY YOU COVERAGE. These reasons generally include the statement “[insert name of insurance company] has concluded that there has been a violation of the insurance contract” or “a breach of the insurance contract has occurred” or “we have discovered a breach of the insurance policy’s cooperation clauses and covenants of good faith and fair dealing based upon the false information provided”.
A very large portion of the information your auto insurance company uses to deny coverage after a loss is obtained from YOU, the policy holder or your family, friends, and neighbors. Most people think these conversations are innocent and helpful, and they choose to voluntarily answer the investigator’s questions or let the adjuster take a recorded statement. And although almost every car insurance contract / policy in Massachusetts requires the policy holder to cooperate with its own car insurance company’s investigation, you are still entitled to – AND SHOULD ALWAYS – be represented by counsel before and during any such questioning or recorded statements. EVERYTHING YOU SAY can and will be used against you – just like in those police drama shows we all know and love. You may even be mistaken, outright wrong, simply not remember, but your statements will be written in stone and used against you if it provides justification for your auto insurance company to deny you coverage.
Within the past couple years, and then again recently, I have had several very nice people contact me because their car insurance company denied coverage under their own car insurance policy and the car insurance company based its denial on something the insured told his/her own insurance company. Each of them now has no coverage beyond the compulsory coverage required in Massachusetts – which means the damage to their vehicle, no matter how expensive, is entirely and solely their responsibility. If you have an auto loan, and your car was totalled, you will be forced to pay that loan yourself even though you have no car and received no insurance coverage for the loss. Of even greater risk is the fact that any claims for personal injury over $20K per person or $40K total per accident, are now the personal responsibility of the insured / policy holder – which puts your house, personal bank accounts and any other assets at risk to satisfy a court judgment or settlement.
IF you have been involved in an accident, regardless of fault, or had your vehicle stolen or vandalized, you should contact an attorney BEFORE you speak with any auto insurance company, including your own car insurance company. You may spend $500 on legal fees, maybe more or maybe less or maybe nothing at all, but the alternative potential consequences can be severe and can last a lifetime. Don’t become the next victim of your own words and statements, hire an attorney at The Jacobs Law, LLC to represent you and advise you throughout the insurance loss investigation process. You can contact us at 800-652-4783 or ContactUs@TheJacobsLaw.com.