MEMPHIS (WMC TV) - Let these words slip and say goodbye to that insurance claim.
J.D. Howard, executive director of the Insurance Consumer Advocate Network, LLC (www.ican2000.com), told Bottom Line Personal magazine these are the five "dirty" words that often cause your insurance claim to be either delayed or denied:
* SORRY. Yes, a car accident is frantic. Everyone's emotional. But saying you're sorry when you're trying to be compassionate can be interpreted as an admission of fault. You may not be at fault. Let police determine who's at fault, and never give a statement to an insurance adjuster on the scene. If an adjuster asks for one, Howard advises you tell the adjuster, "Not now," and insist that your own insurance company take your statement under calmer circumstances.
* THINK. Never say what you "think" about the damage or an illness. Stick to the things you can prove. Take pictures at the scene with a camera or your cell phone. If someone on the scene asks if you're hurt, don't say, "I don't THINK so." Instead, say, "I'm not sure." If you have pain, describe it. Don't "diagnose" it. Howard also says never sign a release or waiver from the other driver's insurance adjuster.
* FLOOD. In the panic of a burst pipe, resist the temptation to tell your insurance agent there's a "flood" in your house or "water's flooded my kitchen." The agent can use the word "flood" against you to deny the claim, since most homeowner's policies do not cover "flood damage." Just say, "The plumbing burst, and there's water everywhere!"
* EXPERIMENTAL. When trying to get approval from your HMO or PPO for medical treatment, do not describe the treatment as experimental or a "clinical trial." You're just giving them an excuse to decline coverage. Ask your doctor to explain the procedure to your insurer and why it should be covered.
* WHIPLASH. When insurers hear this, they hear, "I'm faking an injury." Again, describe the pain instead of diagnosing it. Even better, get your doctor to diagnose your injuries, then give your doctor's diagnosis to your insurer.
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