Can I appeal a car insurance claim?

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Things to remember...
  • You don’t have to simply accept a denial of your car insurance claim. An appeal starts with a letter to your insurance company stating your case
  • You have to know your car insurance rights; most states have this information online for your review
  • Hiring an attorney can be very helpful, as they understand how insurance companies work and the process for appeal in your state

When you’ve been involved in a car accident, it can be a minor inconvenience, or it can change everything in your world overnight. Certainly, the quality of your car insurance company has a lot to do with your claims experience.

However, it can be particularly troublesome if your car insurance company denies your claim for benefits or offers you a settlement that is much too low.

The good news is that you can, and should, appeal your car insurance claim if you feel that the company is wrong.

Below are some tips that will help you get back on the road with a satisfying agreement between you and the insurance company.

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Review Your Denial or Settlement Offer Letter
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Reviewing your claim denial letter or the settlement offer letter that you received is important to understanding the insurance company’s stance on your claim.

It will generally point out why they made the decision they did and likely give you a starting point for refuting their denial or lowball settlement offer.

Some common denial reasons are that the claim exceeds the policy limits, you were not a named insured on the policy, you have missed a payment or a filing deadline for the claim, or that you were at fault in the accident.

Research Your Car Insurance Rights

Reading over your insurance policy is important so that you know exactly what you’ve been paying your car insurance company to cover.

There are many variables, and it might have many unfamiliar terms, so read it through and check into anything you do not understand.

In most states, there is a version of your automobile insurance bill of rights posting online. It might be listed at the state bureau of motor vehicles site or at the site for your state’s insurance commissioner.

Find this information and read it thoroughly, as it will provide you with important points you need to know, like filing dates and requirements.

After reading your rights as a consumer, if you feel that your insurance company did not fulfill their duties to you, then make your decision about how to proceed.

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Submit an Appeal Letter

To begin the process of disputing a denied claim or a too-low settlement, you must submit your argument to the insurance company in writing.

This process can be initiated without an attorney, but a lawyer can be extremely helpful in persuading an insurance company to pay more than they are willing to offer.

Hire an Attorney
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Especially if you suffered serious injuries or your vehicle has extensive damage, or if you are very uncomfortable negotiating, an attorney with auto claims experience can be very helpful.

In fact, a strongly-worded letter from an attorney can make all the difference in the insurance company’s attitude at times.

Definitely consider working with a lawyer if your company is extremely resistant to paying your claim or negotiating fairly.

Additionally, an attorney is well-versed in how the state runs its insurance commissioner’s office and will know how to take advantage of any remedies they might offer to consumers as well.

Keep in mind that going to court to enforce your claim should be your last resort, as it is often a lengthy and expensive process.

Provide Evidence for Your Claim

If you believe your claim should be covered under your policy, you must prove the reasons why to your insurance company. To do this, you must gather all of the relevant documents — police reports, pictures of the vehicles, insurance documents, hospital bills, and repair estimates, for example.

You, or your lawyer, will articulate to the company why each piece of your evidence refutes the adjuster’s decision.

A well-supported appeal case has an excellent chance of being approved or negotiated for a better settlement.

In cases of permanent injuries or significant property damage, it is in your best interests to consult with an attorney before negotiating with your carrier.

Additionally, if you feel the insurance carrier improperly denied your claim or is negotiating in bad faith, an attorney can be very helpful. Bad faith practices generally require complaints to your state insurance commissioner, aggressive settlement negotiations, or lawsuits.

It is frustrating to have an insurance claim denied after a car accident, but that does not mean you simply end negotiations and take the loss. You do have options to pursue the money that you feel is rightfully owed to pay for your injuries and damages, and being persistent ensures you will get a fair settlement.

Hopefully, your insurance company is reasonable and will work with you to make sure that you are satisfied with the outcome. If not, be sure to compare insurance companies and their claims ratings to find one that will serve you better in the future.

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