Any time you call your insurer to submit a claim for your car crash, you can be sure that the company will investigate your claim thoroughly – and that starts with an investigation of you. While the detail, scope and methods used by insurers vary, what they’re looking for is generally the same.

During an investigation, the insurer is looking to confirm the legitimacy of your claim. Even after they determine that your claim has merit, they may still keep investigating you. This is done to ensure your claim for damages isn’t more than what the situation calls for, which is a form of insurance fraud.

Insurance fraud is generally broken down into two main types. “Hard” fraud, the rarer of the two, involves conspiracies to make a false claim for profit. The other type, “soft” fraud, is far more common. This is when people try to inflate a real claim to increase its value. An example would be a person in a minor fender bender without any physical injuries making an injury claim. When your insurer is questioning you, your friends and your neighbors, doing research on your history and things like taking videos of you walking in a parking lot, all of these efforts are aimed at uncovering soft fraud.

Your insurer’s investigation will continue until they determine that your claim and loss figures are valid. Your best bet is to think of the process like the security checks you deal with at an airport; they’re just a fact of life and not a big deal if there’s nothing to be found. The following tips will help you get through your insurer’s investigation intact.

Stay calm and cool

Insurance claims adjusters are jut like everyone else you know, except they work for an insurance company. If you’re reacting aggressively to their questioning, it will look like you’re hiding something. Acting angrily at the airport certainly won’t get you on a plane faster, and the same principle applies here. Just remember that the adjusters are simply doing their job and that you’ve done nothing wrong.

Be honest and clear

You should speak to an attorney before you give too many details to an insurance company employee, but you will generally want to be forthright when discussing your claim during the investigation. Actions such as hiding a prior injury won’t do you any good, and chances are high that the adjuster will discover this anyway, so it’s better to be upfront and establish your credibility.

Call it as you see it

Remember that your insurer is mainly looking for soft fraud, so doing something like exaggerating the pain from your more minor injuries won’t help your claim and can actually harm it. If you’re realistic about your minor injuries, that will help you build your credibility in the eyes of the adjuster.

Know when you need help

If you’ve followed the three tips above but the investigation is still continuing and has started to seem excessive, drawn out or incredibly intrusive, you may need some legal help. At this point, consider hiring an attorney to help level the playing field and determine why the investigation is going the way it is.

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