Tips When Providing A Recorded Statement
From time to time insurance companies want to take a recorded statement. Especially when there is a loss due to theft, vandalism, liability isn’t clear, or if the details of the loss seem very sketchy. But are you required to submit to a recorded statement?
Technically yes – and technically no. If your policy does not state directly that you are required to provide a statement and permit the insurance company to record you, then you are not technically required to do so. However, in the “Duties After Loss Section” of the policy, you are required to cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation. Your insurance company could object to you not cooperating with something they feel is reasonable and if you decline taking a recorded statement they will likely demand your Examination Under Oath.
If the insurance company is requesting that you provide a recorded statement there is likely a good reason. It’s usually because the facts of the loss aren’t clear and they want you to explain items in your own words so they have a permanent record of your testimony as the claim progresses. And quite possibly the supervisor for the adjuster wants to hear for themselves what the facts are. As well, on certain claims it is standard procedure to obtain a recorded statement.
Not being willing to submit to a recorded statement will certainly raise a red flag. It is always best to go ahead and cooperate. Most recorded statements are done in person but if you prefer you can request that you provide your statement over the phone. Quite possibly you are very busy and don’t have time to drive home or to the insurance company’s office. The entire process can sometimes take hours if you consider having to drive home from work and drive back again. Providing your statement should take less than an hour depending on the circumstances.
Below are some tips which you should be aware of when providing your recorded statement;
- You are not under oath: A recorded statement is basically an informal question and answer period. You are not under oath such as when one is required to provide an Examination Under Oath. However, you are expected to tell the truth and provide your best answers.
- Don’t guess: If you do not know an answer simply state that you do not know or you do not recall. Attempting to guess at something may come off the wrong way and may appear to be a lie or that you are attempting to hide the truth.
- Have a note pad: You will want to jot down certain items that the adjuster may be requesting that you provide at a later date or get back to you with answers.
- Have your driver’s license or ID: The adjuster will likely request that you provide a copy of your identification to make sure that they are interviewing the correct person
- Relax: Think of this as a casual conversation about the facts of a loss or certain other facts that you are having with a friend. You should not be uptight or nervous as you are simply providing the facts as you know them.
- Be professional: Remember, you are being recorded. Getting upset or angry over certain questions is not going to help you and will only raise additional questions. If there is a question that you feel is unreasonable, simply ask the adjuster why they need this information as you feel it is unreasonable or private information. If their explanation is not suitable to you that it is something that is relative to the loss, then you can simply state that you will consider answering this question at a later time.
- Record – Record – Record! Most people do not consider recording this conversation themselves. One of the most important things you can do when providing a recorded statement is to record the interview also. If for some reason you are quoted incorrectly or if the insurance company demands your Examination Under Oath, you will be kicking yourself that you did not record this initial conversation. You will want to go back and listen to your testimony to remind yourself of your answers. You will likely want to provide an attorney a copy of the recorded statement so they can get a better understanding into exactly what you previously testified to. It is highly unlikely that the insurance company is going to provide to you a copy – and just as unlikely you are going to recall all of your answers to the dozens of questions.
- Don’t ramble on and on; Adjusters are trained to extract information out of you. Sometimes this is done with long silent pauses where you feel compelled to fill the void of empty space by talking. Don’t. If the question is a yes/no question – then answer yes/no. There is no reason to ramble on as this will likely cause the interview to go on much longer than needed and open doors to more questioning about things that have nothing to do with the loss. If the adjuster asks what time it is – there is no need to explain to them how the clock works.
Most recorded statements are quick. The statement starts out with simple questions such as your name, spell your name, date of birth, mortgage company, etc. Then the adjuster will dig deeper and you’ll likely be able to figure out what the issues are pretty quickly. You should assume that if they are asking you a question then they probably already know the answer to the question. As stated before, be honest. Think about the question – and answer as honestly as you can.