What recourse do you have as an auto insurance policyholder if your car insurance company refuses to pay for a claim that you have submitted? Read on to learn about the car insurance claims process, auto insurance policy details, and how to handle a situation when an insurance company will not pay out on an auto insurance claim. Once you are finished reading this article then be sure to enter your zip code in on the side of the page to compare free rates for car insurance from many different companies online!
When you purchase car insurance you are essentially paying for peace of mind for financial protection. If you pay for liability, you are buying protection to pay for damages you might cause to someone else’s vehicle. By paying for comprehensive and collision insurance, you are paying for financial protection for your vehicle. Additionally you can purchase a variety of options to cover you for a wide range of possibilities.
Insurance premiums are usually paid monthly or semi-annually and in exchange you expect to have coverage for what you bought. Unfortunately, there are times when your insurance company will not pay a claim and you are left without the financial protection you expected. There are times when the claim denial is valid, but there may also be times when you need to pursue your car insurance company to receive your benefits.
Auto Insurance Declarations
When you buy an insurance policy, you are supposed to receive a Declarations Page that outlines all of the policy benefits, costs, and exclusions. It is crucial to review this information immediately so that you can contact your agent for any discrepancies or clarification that may be needed. Renewal policies are usually issued a Renewable Declarations page and that, too, should be reviewed for any possible changes to the policy. You should never make presumptions about what your policy covers because you could find out the hard way that something you expected to be covered is not.
The insurance Declarations page (also referred to as the Dec page) contains coverage amounts, deductible amounts, the amount of your premium, and the period that is covered by the policy. The coverage amount is the maximum benefit covered by the policy and the deductible is how much you are obligated to pay before the insurance company pays out any benefit. The premium is how much your insurance will cost you for that policy period.
If you are given the option to pay for your premium in installments, there could be an additional fee, such as $1 per month extra for the convenience of paying monthly instead of upfront. You always need a current policy in effect, so be sure the policy coverage date is correct. Typically you will receive an automatic renewal policy in the mail, but it is ultimately your responsibility to assure you are carrying a valid insurance policy.
Valid Claim Denials
There are valid times when an insurance company will deny your claim. Cases of this include times when you are simply not covered for the claim as well as for claims that are submitted fraudulently. Most reputable insurance companies do not have problems with valid claims, but there can be times when an insurance company denies a claim that should have been approved.
If you submit a claim that gets denied, you need to make sure you understand the reason for the rejection. It could be a simple matter of clearing up a form of miscommunication. There could have been a mistake with the policy number, or even a misspelling of the insured’s name. Computers handle a large portion of processing, and minor details can be rejected based on match errors. Straightforward issues can easily be corrected with the insurance adjuster.
Claims that are denied due to lack of coverage cannot be amended. If your car is stolen and you do not have comprehensive insurance but you submit a claim anyway, your claim will be denied. Submitting a copy of the police report to prove your car was stolen will not help you receive an insurance benefit for insurance you never purchased.
If you submit a fraudulent claim, your insurance company has the right to reject it. For example, if you pay for medical insurance and then claim to have whiplash in order to receive medical benefits but you do not actually have injuries, the insurance company has a right to deny your claim. Since fraud is a crime, your insurance company also has the right to terminate your policy and notify the authorities of your attempted fraud.
Getting Help with an Insurance Claim
If you have a valid claim and your insurance company is not paying for it, you need to pursue it. Some insurance companies are slow in paying out benefits and will pay eventually. If this is the case, stay in touch with your agent and try to get a time frame commitment. Keep a detailed record of all conversations, emails, and letters that are related to the claim in case an unacceptable amount of time passes. If a sufficient amount of time has passed and your claim still has not been paid, you need to pursue it more aggressively. Once again, keep a record of everything in the event you have to seek legal counsel and pursue collections in court.
Usually insurance claims are straightforward. You either have insurance coverage or you don’t. If you don’t have coverage, then you don’t have a claim. If you have coverage and the claim is legitimate, then your benefits should get paid without any issues. If the insurance company is not paying your claim, contact your insurance adjuster and your agent and request status updates. Keep records so that you have a clearly documented timeline so that you can pursue your insurance company.
One of the best ways to feel confident that your legitimate insurance claim will be paid is by using a reputable insurance company. Before buying an insurance policy, ask about the claims process, how long it typically takes, and what percentage of claims are approved. To get free quotes from top car insurance companies now, enter your zip code now!