UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020
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We all have words or phrases that set us off or cause discomfort. Your insurance company is no different when it comes to word or phrase sensitivities. There are some words that are so important to insurance companies that an incorrect usage of the word could result in non-payment on a claim or other confusion. It always helps to know the sensitive words, so you can approach any conversations with your insurance provider the right way.
There is water damage and there is a flood. A flood is when a body of water overflows its banks. If there is a rain storm and your house fills up with a couple of feet of water, this is not considered a flood, it is considered water damage. If you get this word wrong you could end up with a fraudulent claim. Consider the fact that most insurance policies dont even include flood coverage. If you bring mention the word flood when it is not valid you could end up reducing your insurance companys helpfulness on the claim.
Insurance companies dont like to hear about their policy holders being Guinea Pigs. Not that you ever would be, but it is best to avoid terms like experimental treatment, clinical trial or investigative procedure when talking to your insurance company. They just dont like covering these types of practices. Be aware that if you misrepresent what is going on, you may end up with your insurance company unwilling to pay the costs associated with the procedure.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but your insurance company is not interest in yours about the circumstance of your claim. They want the facts and the facts are just what you should give them. Before you can give them the facts you need to know them, so make sure you do know them. Insurance companies are very used to stories that shift and change and are always suspect of these stories. They are looking for facts that match up consistently with the evidence supplied. If you are interviewed and an agent asks for your opinion, it is best to decline and offer just the facts. Personal opinions and emotions can begin to jumble up facts about a case, and can result in a denial of payment.
Avoid unnecessary apologizing. If you immediately begin a profuse apology, the insurance company will become suspicious, and closer scrutiny of your case may ensue. Even if your apology is sincere it could be interpreted as an admission of guilt or blame. Insurance company employees tend to perk up their ears when they hear apologies that may be masked admissions of blame.
Whiplash is a word that you should avoid using in discussions with an insurance company, at all costs. Quite simply, you should never utter this word. Whiplash can be associated with a diverse range of back or neck injuries that cost insurance companies a lot of money. There are legitimate cases of whiplash, but there are also a lot of bogus claims filed and people tend to throw the word out as a catch-all for any injury, real or fabricated. You can be sure that mentioning the word whiplash will result in a delay of payment on your claim. It will probably also trigger a thorough investigation into the case until all the evidence can be completely evaluated. You may find yourself in a process that drags on for years or is completely rejected, if you use the word whiplash with an insurance representative.