Soon after you file your long term disability claim, the insurance company will contact you to learn the particulars of your medical condition and the reasons why you are unable to work. Unfortunately, in many cases, what they really want to do is find information that they can use as an excuse to deny your claim. You have to be very careful when you are speaking to the insurance representative on the phone. The insurance claim examiner is not your friend, even though he or she might seem to be really nice. Here are a few tips of what to do when the insurance company calls you.
Be polite and calm
You may be sad and even depressed over your medical condition but speaking rashly with the insurance company representative is not going to help you. So be calm and speak politely.
Learn the name of the person calling you
Before discussing anything, ask the person calling for his name, telephone number and address. This will come in handy, if you ever want to contact him or her again.
Request an appointment for a conference call
In many instances, the insurance company will call when the claimant is feeling sick or too overwhelmed to talk. Also, in some cases, the claimant’s condition does not allow him or her to maintain the proper concentration needed to give accurate information on the telephone. In these circumstances, we strongly urge claimants to ask the claims examiner to call at another time. Moreover, it is a very good idea to request for a specific date and time to have a “conference call” where a person who is close to the claimant can also participate. It is very common for disabled persons to have a trusted friend or a relative help them with their every day affairs. It is reasonable for a claimant to ask the insurance company to allow this trusted friend or relative to be part of the call. In an ideal scenario, this third party should just listen to the conversation and only become a participant if there are any issues in the call that need clarification. (Please note that the insurance company might request that the claimant sign a statement stating that they allow this third party to be in the conversation. This is a reasonable request.)
Limit the personal information that you give out
You can give the insurance company factual information about your claim. However, you should stay away from answers that are speculative or irrelevant to your case. For example, there is no need to talk about your marital problems, your living arrangements or your favorite sports team. In many instances the insurance company representative will try to befriend you and “chit chat” with you in order to get information that he can use against you. Insurance companies use details about your daily activities and past-times as indicators as to whether you are disabled or not.
Find a calm quiet place to talk
You should stay away from talking on the phone in public places, hospitals or doctor’s offices. You should also avoid talking while you have visitors at home or when you have children making noise in the background. The insurance company will call your cell phone at random hours during the day and, if they find out that you are engaging in activities like shopping or baby sitting, they will make a notation on the file. The insurance company can take advantage of this information and argue that your level of daily functioning shows that you are not disabled. Also, you want to devote your full concentration to the telephone call; you don’t want to talk while you are distracted by other activities. Never assume that the telephone conversation with the insurance company is minor or routine.
Don’t give speculative estimates about when you will be able to go back to work
Insurance companies often try to get claimants to speculate about when they will be able to return to work. This is an unfair question because, in most cases, it is difficult to tell when one is going to recover from a disabling condition. Be polite and tell the insurance company that you don’t want to speculate. If you don’t know when you will be able to return to work, tell them that you are still recovering and that you need to discuss the matter with your doctor.
Take notes of your contact with the insurance company
The insurance company representatives handling your claim keep a log with annotations of all their telephone conversations with you. You should keep a log too. Get a notebook and have it readily available to record all your conversations with the claims representative. Enter the date and time of the conversation and the state what was discussed during the call. A log of your conversations with the insurance company can be helpful later on in the event that the insurance makes inaccurate allegations about their discussions with you.
Educate yourself about your claim before talking on the phone
At RamosLaw, we believe in empowering the disabled by providing them with information about how to become a better claimant. We urge you to read out blog which is updated on a weekly basis. A well educated claimant is a better client and is also more likely to win benefits. Specifically, we urge each and every claimant to read our blog post titled: “20 Things that Will Kill Your Disability Claim”.