Getting in a car accident is, at best, annoying and, at worst, devastating. Even a fender-bender sometimes results in hundreds of dollars in damage. Many of us pay large insurance premiums every month, just to find out that the insurance company will not cover our claim. Many people then wonder, “What happens when my car crash claim is denied?”
How Insurance Companies Make Money
If all claims were covered, insurance companies would go broke. It is their job to investigate and deny claims. If there is any doubt about what happened, they can deny the claim. It is important to realize that the final decision from your insurance company can be challenged. This can be done by the insured person or by their attorney.
Reasons Why a Claim Gets Denied
There could be reasons why a claim gets denied that are legitimate, and they could be due to an oversight on the part of the insured. Someone who has an older vehicle with just liability insurance is unable to have their car repairs covered. Making an uninsured motorist claim and then discovering that the other driver has insurance can also result in a denial.
Another common reason is paying the premium late, resulting in a gap in coverage. You should ensure that the limits on your policy have not been exceeded. Requests for amounts over the limits will be denied. When buying a new car, always add the vehicle to your policy at once.
Failure to do so could result in a denied claim. Drivers who got into an accident under the influence of alcohol or drugs could find their claim denied, as well.
What if My Claim Is Legitimate?
You can choose to dispute the ruling on a claim. Perhaps documentation lacked, and when provided with the correct documentation, your claim is approved. Some claims are denied due to lack of proof. Your next step is appealing to the insurance commissioner in your state.
The last option is to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. Be sure to not attempt this yourself. Hire an attorney experienced in bad faith insurance lawsuits.
Often, just threatening to sue will result in the insurance company reopening your case. However, if they refuse to reopen the case, you are within your rights to sue. Remember that if you are offered a settlement by the other driver’s insurance company that you feel is unfair, this is not considered a claim denial. You may wish to hire a lawyer to assist you in the negotiation process.
Filing a Claim
To make the claim process easier and to attempt to avoid lawsuits, be sure to exchange insurance information with the other driver after an accident. Take pictures of the damage done to both vehicles. Also, be sure to get the owner of the car’s contact information, especially if someone other than the owner was driving.
If possible, get the contact information from any witnesses and the police officers who responded to the scene of the accident. Contact your insurance company right away. Last but not least, never admit fault at the scene of an accident. There could be mitigating circumstances about which you do not know.
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