Here are common “wrong words” that could slow down or impede an otherwise legitimate insurance claim.
‘Sorry’ – Don’t Assume anything. Without sounding insensitive, try to avoid saying “I’m sorry” because it can be interpreted as an admission of fault. Describe what happened to the best of your ability and stick to the facts.
‘In my opinion’ – Don’t offer your opinion. Just give the cold, hard facts. . . . Don’t say, ‘I think,’ ‘I feel,’ ‘I felt.’ No touchy-feely stuff. For example, following a car accident, people can rarely provide an accurate estimate of the rate, speed and flow of traffic. Unless you were staring at the speedometer, you don’t know how fast you were going.
‘Flood’ – Policyholders often use the “F” word inappropriately, and it can trigger an alarm with insurers since flood damage (as we have seen in the media of late) is not covered under many standard home policies. To an insurance company, “flood” means water from a nearby lake, stream, river or other body of water.
Many people believe their house is flooded because it’s full of water – but it’s not a flood by the insurance definition.
If your water damage did not come from an overflow of a nearby lake, stream, river or other body of water, don’t even say the word “flood.”
If your house is filled with water due to a burst pipe, it’s not considered a flood.
When making an insurance claim, what you say can mean the difference between fast payment and a nightmarish process. Insurance companies are sensitive to certain words.
Of course, lying to your insurance company or misrepresenting facts is fraud and your claim will surely be denied if the insurer finds out. But using the right words to accurately describe your problem is important.
by John Bowman, Ausure Insurance Brokers