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Over $80 billion is stolen each year through insurance fraud. This isn’t just bad news for insurance companies, it’s also bad news for policyholders who see increases in their premiums and increased scrutiny over their claims. When you think of someone committing insurance fraud, you might picture a malevolent ne’er do well trying to game the system for their own personal gain. Insurance fraud doesn’t always happen that way, however, and the investigation may come as a surprise for many people. If you think you might be at risk of being charged with insurance fraud, then it’s important to have an insurance fraud lawyer on your side.
Read on to learn when you should consider hiring an insurance fraud lawyer to help you navigate the process.
1. Your Claim Was Denied
The first sign of trouble with an insurance company is a notification that your claim was denied. Insurance companies process claims with a keen eye to identify possible signs of fraud. If they detect anything that could be fraudulent, they will deny the claim before they’re out the money.
Notification of a denial does not necessarily mean that the insurance company is conducting an investigation for fraud, but it should prompt you to go back over your claim to verify everything is correct. Make sure that you have coverage for the items listed on your claim and that you marked their value accordingly.
If everything seems correct on your claim, then it is in your best interest to contact an attorney to help you resolve the issue.
2. You Accidentally Misrepresented the Facts on Your Claim
It’s no secret that dealing with insurance companies and the associated paperwork is difficult. Couple that with the stressors of daily life and you have a recipe for accidental insurance fraud. Some may accidentally misrepresent the value of an item on their claim or, in the case of auto accidents, misrepresent the extent of the damage caused by the accident.
There are several defenses to charges of insurance fraud, including a lack of intent to deceive. In cases of accidental misrepresentation, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you create a strategy to deal with the issue.
3. You Intentionally Misrepresented the Facts on Your Claim
Filing insurance claims always comes with the temptation to fluff up the facts to help you get more money from the insurance company than you’re actually allowed. Maybe you had minor damage to your car before an accident and you claimed it was from the accident. Maybe your home was burglarized and you fudge the size and value of a television that was stolen.
The inflation of the value of your claim is known as soft insurance fraud. It’s not as serious as other types of fraud, but it is still fraud and there are consequences for it. If you’ve fudged the numbers, it’s important to contact an attorney right away.
4. You Made a False Claim
Some insurance claims are made in bad faith and are patently false. This includes things like setting your home on fire or deliberately totaling your car and claiming it was an accident. Some even file claims for loss of items they never even owned.
Making completely false insurance claims is known as hard insurance fraud, and it can have a huge impact on your life. It can even mean jail time. If you’ve made a false insurance claim, contact an attorney immediately.
5. Your Friends or Neighbors Are Contacted
Insurance companies do their homework when it comes to investigations for fraud. They’ll get down to the nitty-gritty of your life and the circumstances surrounding the claim. They’ll look at your financial information to determine whether you could realistically afford the item or items for which you have a claim.
They may even contact your friends or neighbors to get some insight into the incident. If your neighbors reach out to tell you that the insurance company contacted them about your claim, you should take that as a sign that you’re being investigated and plan accordingly.
6. You Receive Notification of Investigation for Fraud
Receiving notification that you’re being investigated for insurance fraud is a surefire sign that you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. For some, this notice may come as a surprise, but for others it’s a notification that they have been unsuccessful at filing fraudulent insurance claims.
The worst thing you can do if you receive a notice from your insurance company is to ignore it. Contact an attorney promptly so they can help guide you through the investigation process.
7. Always Consult an Insurance Fraud Lawyer If You Are Arrested
Insurance fraud is a crime in the state of Texas. The seriousness of the fraud means you could end up with a misdemeanor or even a felony charge on your hands. These charges come with big fines and jail time, and they can preclude you from seeking certain types of employment.
Any time you arrested, it’s important to not speak with the police until you have an attorney present. This is true for charges of insurance fraud, as well. You have rights as a defendant and an attorney can help you protect those rights.
Do You Need Help with Your Insurance Fraud Case?
Insurance fraud comes in many forms — it can be completely unintentional, a slight embellishment of the facts, or it can be intentional. Regardless of your intent, being charged with insurance fraud is a serious and potentially life-altering thing. It’s important that you hire an insurance fraud lawyer at the first sign of trouble to help protect you.
Have you been charged with insurance fraud in the Houston, Texas area? Do you need an attorney with a wealth of experience in dealing with insurance fraud? Contact us today to learn how we can help you!