Car insurance is required for drivers in almost every state. Most drivers and car owners buy car insurance not only to comply with the law, but also because they think it offers some protection against potentially catastrophic expenses.
After an accident, you might make a claim with your own insurer (a "first-party claim") or someone else's (a "third-party claim"). No matter which company you're dealing with, you'll probably be frustrated if the company denies or tries to underpay your claim. This is especially true when your own insurer denies your claim after you've paid monthly premiums, often for years or even decades.
In this article, we'll breakdown:
Car accidents are stressful. You might be injured yourself. You might feel responsible for injuring someone else—a passenger, pedestrian, or another driver. You might be worried about how you're going to get to work while your car is in the shop. The last thing you need is to haggle with insurance adjusters.
When an adjuster denies part or all of your claim, you need to understand why. Common disputes include:
For more about why car insurance companies deny claims, check out: What If My Car Insurance Claim is denied?
Just because an insurance adjuster denies part or all of your claim, doesn't mean your case is closed. You can consider the insurer's denial as a starting point for negotiations.
First, ask the adjuster to give you a written explanation of the reason for the denial. Ask the adjuster to show you the specific language in the policy that the adjuster is relying on to deny your claim, including policy limits. Also, ask the adjuster to tell you what statutes (laws), rules, or regulations the adjuster is relying on to deny your claim.
If the adjuster refuses to put the reasons for the denial in writing, write your own letter confirming your request and the adjuster's refusal. You might need it if you decide to go above the adjuster's head or to court (see below).
Insurance companies have a duty to negotiate and settle first-party and third-party claims in good faith. If an adjuster is ignoring you or using improper settlement tactics, you might be able to argue that the insurer is acting in bad faith. You can:
Insurance companies are powerful. Most people rarely, if ever, have to make insurance claims. But adjusters handle them all day, every day. If an insurance company is trying to deny or underpay your claim, talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can help protect your interests or relieve you of the burden of dealing with uncooperative insurers.
Learn more about when to hire a lawyer after a car accident and tips on how to find the right lawyer for your case. You can also fill out the form at the top or bottom of this page to connect with a lawyer for free.