The worst time to discover your car insurance is inadequate is when you have had an accident and the insurance company denies your claim. You’re probably already feeling some stress about the situation, and perhaps you’re still recovering from your injuries. Now you have to figure out why your insurance company is refusing to pay what you deserve.
The first thing to consider is the possibility that the insurance company is refusing to pay for a good reason. There are numerous explanations for why an agent would reject your claim. One of the most common is that the policy doesn’t cover your claim. A careful review of your policy documents should help you determine for what coverage you have actually paid.
Bare bones policy
For example, in many states, you’re required to carry liability and uninsured motorist coverage. Liability pays for property damage and injuries to others when you are at fault in an accident. Uninsured motorist coverage takes care of your damages when another driver is responsible for an accident but has no insurance coverage.
Additionally, you may choose to purchase more coverage on your policy. In West Virginia and other states, these and more may be optional:
- Collision to help pay for repairs to your car after an accident
- Comprehensive to help pay for damage to your car that occurs in other ways besides an accident (for example weather or vandalism)
- Underinsured motorist coverage when the responsible driver’s insurance isn’t enough to cover your damages
It’s important that you know and understand the coverage for which you’ve paid before you file a claim. You may also be shocked to discover that you have allowed your coverage to lapse. One missed or late payment may be enough for your company to suspend your policy, leaving you completely responsible for the costs.
Broken laws affect your policy
Your insurance company may also refuse to pay if your accident occurred because you were intoxicated. In many states, drunk driving is an acceptable reason for an agent to deny your claim. If you misrepresented or exaggerated the damage done to your vehicle, this may be considered fraud. Not only will the agent probably reject a fraudulent claim, but you may also face criminal charges.
If you have ruled out each of these possibilities as the reason the insurance company denied your claim, the next step may be to consult an attorney who will help you figure out if your insurance company is acting in bad faith. Your lawyer will apply years of experience and knowledge to analyze your policy. If your insurance company is withholding payment that you deserve, a dedicated attorney will work to hold that company to its promises.