“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you . . .”
I’m sure we’ve all had enough “stuck in bed with the flu and Law & Order marathon” afternoons to know that when you’re being interrogated about legal issues, it’s usually a good idea to invoke your sacred right to shut up. But what about when your insurance company wants to interrogate you about your claim? How much information do you really need to share when they’re grilling you under the hot interrogation lights about why you don’t have receipts for the litter box and scratching post that got wiped out in the flood. After a thousand pictures, what more do they need?
As someone who spent much of his career investigating claims for insurance companies, let me start by saying that these interviews are generally not done to figure how to pay the claim – they are done as way to try to GET OUT OF PAYING THE CLAIM. So start by getting professional help. Most good insurance attorneys will represent you through this statement process on a contingency – meaning they won’t charge you until they get your claim paid.
Here’s what else to know about the process:
1) If you refuse to cooperate with the insurer’s investigation, they may have the right to deny your entire claim and leave you on the hook for the cost of repairs
2) You have the right to have your lawyer help you through every step of the way
3) If the insurer has requested an inconvenient time or place for the interview, a lawyer can usually assist in getting it moved
4) An insurance company will generally be a bit less abrasive and intrusive when a lawyer is there to defend you
So know that when you have to speak – and anything you say can and will be used against you – you can and should have a trained lawyer there to guide you.
Russel Lazega is an attorney and author of two of Florida’s most widely distributed legal textbooks on Florida Insurance Law. He also represents accident victims and consumers at war with their insurance companies and is based in North Miami, Dania Beach, Orlando and Tampa, Florida. Questions? Contact: Russ@lazegalaw.com.