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Read on to learn how to take your auto insurance company to court over a claim. Then enter your zip code above to compare free car insurance quotes online!
What is an Auto Insurance Claim and How Do I File One?
The purpose of car insurance is to help you when you get into a car accident or when your car is damaged. When this happens, you have to file a claim with the car insurance company so that damages can be paid.
A claim is a request you make to the insurance company for payment for damages according to the terms of your policy. Most companies have options for you to do this online, over the phone, or in person at a local office.
A claim is what your insurance company pays after you pay the agreed upon deductible.
For example, if you have a $500 deductible and the damage done to your vehicle is $1,000 you would pay $500 and ask the insurance company to pay the other $500.
If you can’t pay your deductible, the car insurance company doesn’t have to pay their part. This is why it is important to have a deductible you can afford, or to have the money set aside for your deductible.
Once you file a claim, the insurance company can do one of the following options:
- Accept the claim
- Adjust the claim
- Reject the claim
This is a process that can take some time and involves having the damage to your vehicle appraised by the insurance company or by a mechanic of your choosing.
If your claim is adjusted or rejected, you have the right to understand why and resubmit the claim based on your understanding.
What Can I Do if My Claim is Rejected Numerous Times?
If your claim is continually rejected and you think that you have the right, according to your policy, to have the claim met, you can take your insurance company to court. The claim will most likely start out in small claims court.
Each state has a different monetary limit for small claims court so, depending on the amount of your claim, you may be in a different claims bracket.
Generally speaking, most car insurance claims start out in small claims court.
- First you have to resubmit your claim each time to a higher level of management.
- Go through the filing process exactly as outlined by the company.
- Keep documentation of everything you do since this will come into play if you go to court.
- Once you have reached the end of their process and you still are not satisfied with the outcome, it is time to file your claim in court.
If you do go to small claims court, you simply pay a processing fee (which will vary from state to state) and fill out some paperwork. You do not need a lawyer in small claims court.
The most important thing is that you have a case that will stick.
You need proof of what was promised to you through your policy, detailed reports concerning the damage to your vehicle, proof of the process you went through with the insurance policy, and any other supporting documentation.
Keep in mind that the process can be long in small claims court, but if you are entitled to more than your insurance company is willing to pay, it is worth the wait.
Also, keep track of expenses involving court since the insurance company will be responsible for these, if you win the case.
You will be given a court day. Come prepared with all of your documentation and a decision will be made. Sometimes the judge will make the decision while you are there and sometimes it will take some time to hear back from the judge.
Finding the Best Car Insurance Company
The best protection against having to take a car insurance company to court is to go with a company that is reputable and trustworthy.
One way to find a reliable company is through an online comparison tool. This allows you to see several rates and quotes side by side so you can choose the company that works for you.