UPDATED: Sep 3, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.
Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.
So you’ve been involved in an accident. Even if you did everything right — got the other driver’s information, called the police, filed a report, dotted your i’s and cross your t’s — your insurance company may still deny your claim. As if getting into the accident in the first place wasn’t bad enough!
No matter what auto insurance coverage options you’ve selected, a claim denial can cost you a lot. Luckily, a denial isn’t the end.
Read on to learn what to do if your claim is denied and if you need to shop for a new auto insurance policy, use our FREE comparison tool to find multiple auto insurance quotes near you.
What To Do After Your Claim is Denied
After your claim is denied, you basically have one of two options:
- Give up, and try to deal with the financial burden of repairing/replacing your vehicle all on your own so that you can get your life back to normal, or
- Dispute the claim with your insurance company
Option number two is the definition of “easier said than done”. But it’s not completely hopeless. Here, we’ll explain the steps you can take in order to make sure your claim is not denied in the first place. But if it is, we have some helpful advice for you with regard to the claims resolution process. Hopefully, after reading this article, you and your insurer will be able to come to a resolution that benefits everyone. Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates. Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
Avoiding a Claim Dispute
“Prevention is always the best medicine” is a platitude that is just as true outside of the medical industry as well as it is within. If you do everything you can to prevent your claim from being disputed in the first place, it will significantly help you in the event that your claim is unfortunately denied. Here’s a checklist you should follow in the event that you get into an accident:
- Documentation, documentation, documentation. Get as much documentation as you possibly can. Whether this comes from the other driver immediately after the accident, any police officers who arrived on scene, any medical expenses that result from the accident, or any paperwork from the other party’s insurance company. The more proof you have, the easier it will be to make your case.
- You’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar. We understand that getting into an accident, and all of the red tape that follows, means that you’ll be going through a lot of stress during the process. But try to be as polite and as level-headed as you can, especially when you’re interacting with claims adjusters. These individuals are usually overworked and pressed for time, in addition to carrying a large caseload. But if you make your interaction with them a pleasant experience, they may be more likely — even if only subconsciously – to process your case in a quick and efficient manner that falls in your favor.
- First-party vs. Third-party claims. Where it is legally permissible, try as hard as you can to make as many first-party (and a few third-party) claims as possible. Because first-party claims are between you and your insurance provider, they have a vested interest in keeping you happy so that you don’t switch companies. A third-party claim — filed against the other driver’s insurance company — is a whole other ball game. They are interested in making the claims process as difficult for you as possible so that they can pay out as little as possible. Third-party claims are a vicious, uphill battle that you’ll have to be armed to the teeth for if you want to win.
- If all else fails, your claim is denied, and you feel that this denial was either unfair or illegal, you have every right to report the incident to your state’s Department of Insurance. Some states may even have a special department dedicated to claims resolution. You should contact them immediately after you receive notice of your denied claim in order to ensure the most favorable outcome for yourself.
Understanding Why Your Claim Was Denied
One thing many drivers do not understand about the claims process is the fact that your insurance company does not have to pay out every single claim you file. There are limits to how much you can file a claim based on the coverage you purchase (or don’t purchase). If the claim you file is substantially more costly than the coverage you have, if your claim hits or exceeds your existing coverage limits, or if you have not bought the particular type of coverage you’re filing a claim for, your claim can be denied and there’s not much you can do about it.
This is why it’s important to purchase as much coverage as you can possibly afford, both in dollar amount and in type. For example, if you don’t have Comprehensive coverage on a car that gets stolen, you’re going to be paying for a brand new car out of pocket. Below is a chart that clearly outlines your long-term savings from purchasing insufficient coverage:
|Bare Minimum Coverage||Comprehensive Coverage||10 Year Savings|
Versus having to replace your stolen vehicle: