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Take steps to protect yourself from the insurance company's spies

If you're trying to get (or keep) your long-term disability benefits, there's a very good possibility that you'll eventually end up being spied upon by your insurance company.

Theoretically, insurance companies are trying to root out fraud by hiring investigators to spy on their claimants. However, investigators' fees get paid by the insurance companies. Investigators who always come back empty-handed probably have less value than those who consistently uncover the sort of evidence that can be used to either terminate or deny someone's disability.

These practices have led to some underhanded, aggressive tactics on the part of investigators. Consequently, those who are genuinely disabled have had their benefits denied or stopped as a result. It's vital to know how to handle the situation to protect yourself from unwanted intrusions that could jeopardize your benefits.

Savvy claimants may want to keep the following in mind:

1.) Recognize the signs of surveillance.

If you see an unfamiliar, occupied car or van sitting in the same place for several days right across from your house or apartment, you may be under surveillance. Similarly, if someone is walking around your neighborhood, questioning your neighbors about your habits or attempting to engage you in a conversation, you can be fairly sure that you're the focus of an investigation.

Your best tactic is to stay inside as much as possible, blinds drawn and door closed. Surveillance is expensive —if you give them nothing to work with, the insurance company may decide it's too costly to continue.

2.) Be aware of fake-outs.

Don't assume that if the investigator is gone that another one hasn't taken his or her place. Sometimes savvy investigators will work in teams, with one being obvious about his or her intentions. When that one leaves in apparent defeat, the second investigator steps in unnoticed, trying to film you doing something your disability ostensibly prevents you from accomplishing.

3.) Let your family and neighbors know.

Let your family and neighbors know that you're under investigation because the insurance company wants to deny your disability benefits. Tell them to be suspicious if "old friend" stops by to ask questions when you aren't home.

In many cases, insurance companies won't back off unless forced by law. If your benefits are in jeopardy, our attorneys can go to bat for you and fight.

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