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Can you do anything about a denied car insurance claim?

Whether you've been in an accident or your vehicle was damaged some other way, the first thing you typically do is file an insurance claim. You might expect that your claim will be accepted without question, but what do you do if your insurance claim for your car or truck is denied? If that happens, you'll need professional help to deal with the situation.

Ensure your claim denial wasn't a mistake

First, keep in mind that an insurance company is made up of people, and as such, mistakes can happen. You'll want to pay close attention to why your claim was not approved. If it was denied for a reason that doesn't make sense, start there. When insurance companies are unsure as to whether or not a claim should be approved, they err on the side of denial. It is cheaper for them, and easier. It also means you will need to be proactive to get the mistake rectified.

Reasons your claim may be denied

If it wasn't an error, there are several reasons your claim can be denied. Some of these reasons include having an insurance policy that is no longer in effect. If you have not paid your insurance premiums then it is within the insurance company's right to deny your claim.

Also, if you purchased a new vehicle, you have a certain time period to have your vehicle added to your policy. If you failed to do so, it would not be covered. Depending on your coverage limits, the damage to your car or truck may be more than what is covered which means your insurance company will not cover any amount over what is stated on the declarations page of your policy. In addition, if you are not named on the policy as an insured, your claim will be denied.

When to fight a car insurance claim denial

Once you completely understand why your claim was denied, if the facts don't fit the denial, then you can, and should fight it. Of course, it is always best to use an attorney when dealing with an insurance company claim denial. They will have the experience and training to help ensure that you receive the best outcome possible. An experienced "bad faith" insurance lawyer will be able to handle every aspect of your claim resubmission and negotiations. Plan on turning over all related documentations and reports to your lawyer. 

If your insurance company continues to deny your claim

If the insurance company doesn't change its original ruling, then you can make a formal appeal appeal through the California State Insurance Commissioner. Here, especially, it is critical to have a knowledgeable insurance litigation attorney advocating for you.

If your appeal is not approved, you do have one final option, and that is to file a lawsuit against the insurance company for bad faith. A simple threat of a lawsuit may get your insurance company to reopen your case, but if not, you will need to actually go through with the lawsuit.

If it comes to suing the insurance company, you will need an attorney who handles insurance bad faith lawsuits. Your lawyer should have the knowledge and years of experience that you will need to see a positive outcome. Also, an attorney may be able to obtain a settlement without having to actually go through the process of a trial.

In the end, it is important to understand that just because your car insurance claim was denied, it isn't the end of the road. You have options and rights and you should fight for those and not allow your insurance company have the final say.

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