If you’ve ever been in an auto accident, you know that one of the pain points – in addition to the potential physical and emotional pain – is dealing with the insurance company. Filing an insurance claim is an important step after any motor vehicle accident, because that’s what it’s there for. Our car insurance policies are supposed to cover our expenses in the case of an accident.
But what happens when you file an insurance claim, only to have it denied? It can be disheartening, but it’s not the end of the road. Keep reading to learn how to deal with a denied car insurance claim, and how to determine whether your claim was denied in bad faith.
So Your Claim Got Denied – Now What?
When you first receive a denied claim from your insurance company, your first question will be: why? It is your insurance carrier’s responsibility to provide that reason. Some reasons for denying a claim are valid, such as:
- Your policy expired
- What you’re claiming isn’t covered by your policy
- You excluded relevant information when agreeing to your policy
- You filed your claim past the deadline
You will need to confirm that you have the correct type of coverage for your situation, since there are multiple types of car insurance. Some of these insurance policies include liability coverage, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage.
If you still believe that your claim is valid, you could be right. Unfortunately, it is possible that your car insurance claim was denied in bad faith. Insurance companies have a history of using bad faith practices to deny, delay, or underpay on all types of claims. Fortunately, these practices are illegal and insurance companies can be held accountable. Insurers are required by law to put the needs of their claimant first, and attempt to seek evidence that supports the claim.
Here are some examples of bad faith practices by insurance companies:
- Outright denied your claim with no explanation as to why
- Continues to delay your payment for unknown or invalid reasons
- Offered an extremely low settlement
- Changed the insurance policy terms
- Requested an unreasonable amount of paperwork or evidence
- Attempted to change the percentage of fault
Appealing an Insurance Claim Decision
If you are unsure why your claim was denied or you disagree with the reason, you can appeal the decision. Your best bet will be to consult with a bad faith insurance lawyer, who can help you navigate the appeals process. You can contact your insurance company directly to start the appeals process, but chances are they won’t be more helpful than the first time.
Attorneys who specialize in this field will be able to determine if the insurance company used bad faith, and how to fight them if they did. By having a legal professional handle the communication and negotiation, you can focus on recovering from your accident. Additionally, a successful bad faith claim can recover more than just the claim amount; it can also include compensation to cover accrued interest, attorney fees, and potentially punitive damages.
If you pay for car insurance, you deserve to have claims approved when you need it most.