When Does a Disability Claim Investigation Begin?
You might think that the disability insurance claims process starts when you send back the initial packet of paperwork to your insurance company. However, disability insurers are starting to make an effort to gather information from the first time they talk to you—possibly before you’ve even decided if/when you’ll file a claim. More and more we are seeing companies that require you to call into them in order to obtain claim forms. Then, when you’re connected with a representative, he or she will not only get your contact information, but may also initiate an on-the-spot interview.
The purpose of this interview is not only to begin collecting information for their file on you, but to do it before you’ve had a chance to read through claim form or review your policy in detail. This initial interview can cover a wide variety of topics, including:
- What are your symptoms, and when did they start?
- What treatments have you tried? What are all the medications you’ve tried?
- How many doctors have you seen? Can you give their me contact information?
- What are your job duties?
- How much time have you taken off work? When do you plan on going back?
- What does a typical day look like for you?
- Once you stop practicing, are you going to work somewhere else?
- What is your income?
These are just a few of the questions an insurance company might ask you, and they all can potentially have a significant impact on your claim and chances of collecting if they are not answered precisely and accurately. So, while the interviewer may be friendly and the conversation may seem casual, it is not a call that should be taken lightly. Insurance companies will look for any inconsistencies that they can use to attack your credibility, and will often compare your answers during this initial interview to what you say on all future claim forms and field interviews, as well as information private investigators have gathered during surveillance. Consequently, even an innocent mistake or an answer that was imprecise or not well-thought out can cause problems for you claim later on.
If you find yourself considering filing a claim, an experienced disability insurance attorney can help you understand the terms of your policy and what to expect during the disability insurance claims process.