You’re involved in an accident, you contact your insurance company as you’re required to and suddenly you receive notice that your claim has been denied. What? Isn’t that what insurance is for? To cover the damages after an accident that you can’t afford on your own? Well… to put it simply, yes that is what insurance coverage is for.
The issue with getting a claim approved is that insurance companies lose money when they pay claims. So if an insurance company can find a “loophole” or “fall guy” to pin the responsibilities on – they will.
Though receiving a denial notice might seem frustrating, there are things you can do that might rectify the matter and remove some of the financial responsibility from your pockets. Though it will depend on a lot of varying factors, below are a few things to do once you’ve received a denial notice from your insurance provider:
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re filing an insurance claim due to extensive damage to your vehicle or to your health, it is probably best to contact a personal injury lawyer at this time. Though this should have been taken care of immediately following the accident, if your insurance company is unwilling to cooperate, you may need legal representation to give the claim a push. Sites such as seriousaccidents.com make it easy for you to find personal injury lawyers to assist you in filing a claim. Since many attorneys offer free consultation, you can at least find out if you have a viable case before proceeding further with the claim dispute.
Why Was It Denied?
Whether you decide to hire an attorney or not, the first question you’ll need to have answered is ‘why?’ Your insurance company should provide you with a detailed notice as to why your claim was denied. Some of the more common reasons a claim is denied might include:
- The accident is believed to be your fault or could have been avoided (i.e. DUI)
- The driver of your car on the day of the accident was uninsured or unlicensed
- You didn’t seek medical attention after the accident making it hard to determine which injuries were sustained and covered under your insurance policy.
- You don’t have adequate insurance coverage
- Your insurance policy lapsed
- The vehicle you’re filing a claim about is not listed on the policy (for example if you purchased a new car but didn’t inform your insurance provider)
- The damages exceed policy limits
Knowing why your claim was denied will help you determine which route to take next. There are several options available to you. Below are some of the most common:
- File an Appeal with the Insurance Company – An appeal is likely offered to you by your insurance provider in the denial notice. If you’d like to appeal on your own (or with an attorney), you’ll need to gather all the information you can relating to the accident and your insurance policy. Any police reports, medical reports, eyewitness accounts, and anything else you can think of that might sway your insurance company to pay for the claim needs to be submitted with the appeal.
- Contact Your State Insurance Commissioner – If you’d like to skip the insurance company altogether or you believe that they’re not adequately reviewing the information you’ve provided, you can file an appeal with your state insurance commissioner. They will then review all the information you’ve supplied your insurance company and make a decision on whether or not the decision to deny your claim was valid.
- File a Suit with Your Attorney – If your insurance company is unwilling to cooperate, it may be necessary to file a suit with the help of your attorney. This suit could be against the insurance company, the other driver, or even the other driver’s insurance company (if you’re not at fault). This can help to get you the compensation you’re entitled to.
Being in an accident is bad enough. Finding out that your insurance company won’t help you out can make matters even worse. Rather than stress yourself out prematurely, take heed to the above mentioned steps and take action. In many cases, the above steps to appeal will help you to receive compensation for any damages or injuries you may have incurred while involved in the accident. Remember, if the damage was significant, contacting an attorney may be the most effective solution to handling the insurance claim.