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Winter 2021  Volume 14, Number 4        

person spying from the bushes

How to Avoid Challenges to Your Disability Claim

If you file a disability claim with your insurance company and get the feeling you’re being followed, you might be right!

Insurance companies sometimes hire investigators to determine whether you’re telling the truth about an injury you suffered. They understandably want to ensure they’re not paying any more claim money than necessary.

It’s perfectly legal for them to hire someone to surveil you and take photographs or video of you doing things you claim you cannot do because of the injury. The caveat is that the investigator may not come onto your or anyone’s private property.

Surveillance Tactics

It’s common for insurance companies to order surveillance on a claimant after they take a deposition to verify the substance of their incapacities. This is particularly common in cases where the injured person says they can no longer perform normal day-to-day activities, such as bending, lifting or carrying. For instance, if a person claims a back injury prevents them from carrying heavy loads, but they are caught on camera carrying a heavy trash bag, it could be shown that the injuries weren’t as bad as claimed.

Although an insurance company may decide to surveil you anytime during the duration of your claim, they usually send their investigators out for at least three days in a row on days when lighting for photos or videos is best.

How to Tell if You’re Being Surveilled

Look for strangers in your neighborhood, including someone sitting in an unfamiliar car or truck parked near your house. If you drive somewhere, they will likely follow you. To distract you, they might use two vehicles to follow you. One car might go straight while the other one is actually following you. You might encounter an investigator in public, including parks, gyms, restaurants or church. They will not go into your home or workplace though.

Another sign you’re being watched is if you see a stranger several times over several days. And, of course, you’re probably being surveilled if you see someone you don’t know taking photos of you.

Keep in mind that even if you think you’ve been watched but they have now left, it doesn’t mean the surveillance won’t be repeated. The surveillance might be continued if they haven’t been able to capture any compelling evidence but feel they could.

How to Protect Your Claim:

Remember that disability insurance companies use surveillance as a tactic to investigate and deny claims. The evidence they collect also, can be used to intimidate you into dropping the claim. Most of the time, the video surveillance is useless because a single moment of footage does not establish whether a person really is seriously injured or not.

To help your case and prove your claim, there are some things you can do:

  • Be aware of how the menial things you do in your life — like baby sitting or taking a long trip — might appear to be inconsistent with your claim. You will need to be able to explain how and why you are able to perform these activities.
  • Think about what you post on social media. Investigators will review blogs, audio,video and photos you post on places like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Craigslist to look for evidence that you weren’t honest about your disabilities. For instance, if you say you can’t perform certain daily activities, but Tweet often about what you’re accomplishing, that could seem dishonest.
  • Be vigilant and watch for signs you’re being watched.
  • If the surveillance becomes invasive, it is illegal. If this occurs, you may need to talk to an attorney.


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In this issue:

This Just In...

How to Avoid Challenges to Your Disability Claim

Planning for Care When You Need It Most

Errors to Avoid If You Inherit an IRA

Life Insurance for the One Who Makes a House a Home


The information presented and conclusions within are based upon our best judgment and analysis. It is not guaranteed information and does not necessarily reflect all available data. Web addresses are current at time of publication but subject to change. SmartsPro Marketing and The Insurance 411 do not engage in the solicitation, sale or management of securities or investments, nor does it make any recommendations on securities or investments. This material may not be quoted or reproduced in any form without publisher’s permission. All rights reserved. ©2021 The Insurance 411. www.theinsurance411.com Tel. 877-762-7877.