Getting into a car accident is stressful as it is, but the clean up and process afterwards can sometimes make the experience even worse. Not only do you have the inconvenience of being without your vehicle, but now you have to find a body shop you trust to do the repairs on top of calling your insurance company to start the claims process.
The last thing you’d ever expect is the other driver and insurance company denying liability. Things couldn’t get any worse and yet, they somehow just did. What do you do when this situation happens? Is there anything you can do?
You’ve reported the accident to the insurance company of the driver who hit you and provided them more than what they would need to satisfy the claim. You did everything exactly correct following the accident: You got photos of the damage, possibly contacted the police who filed a report, and have a detailed account of the accident. Then you call your insurance to notify them and wait anxiously for the other driver’s insurance to get back to you. You clearly were not at fault, so you expect all will be ok until you discover the other driver denied responsibility and your claim was denied by their insurance.
Why Your Claim Was Denied
Oftentimes this will come as a shock, but there could be a few possible reasons why your claim was denied. The most popular reason a claim is denied is usually blamed on the police officers that were at the scene because they didn’t actually identify who was at fault. As a result, it’s only a “guess” over who’s fault it was, no matter how unfair that may seem.
Here are a few other reasons you might hear your claim was denied:
- Lapsed Policy: If the other driver failed to pay their premiums, this would cause their policy to lapse. As a result, their insurance company might claim that the driver had no coverage at the time of the accident. If this happens, you’ll need to rely on something known as “uninsured motorist coverage.” For more information on what to do in this situation, click here.
- Time is up: Insurance policies will also deny responsibility if an accident wasn’t reported in the allotted time. If it wasn’t major damage and the other driver doesn’t care much about getting their car fixed, they’re willing to let the time slip by. Depending on where you are located, you have 2-6 years to file a claim after an accident. However, a car accident should be and needs to be immediately filed. This is why it’s vital you not only inform your insurance company as soon as possible but the other driver’s insurance company as well so they don’t take their time in filing a claim.
- Policy exclusions: Insurance companies might deny your claim if they believe specific policy exclusions were the cause of the accident and not the driver. Sudden weather, such as a freak hail storm, is a widespread “act” that the other policy might consider an exclusion. As a result, your policy would be denied.
What To Do Next
You may be at a loss for what to do next and even might be considering hiring a lawyer. The good news is, there is another option to try first. The very next thing you should do after hearing the claim is denied is ask the (other driver’s) insurance company for immediate proof.
They may try to avoid the answer or say that they can not, but insurance companies are required to provide you with the documentation of the incident. You should ask for it, and demand it, sooner than later so you have what you need to argue your stance.
Next, you should contact your own insurance company and seek advice on what to do next. Your insurance company will pay for the repair to your car so you can at least begin the process of getting your car returned. You will still have to pay your deductible but at least you aren’t stuck in a holding pattern while you wait for the other driver’s insurance claim to resolve.
It is important to research collision repair shops and have your car go to a shop that doesn’t hang their hat on fast repairs. Fast repairs do not always mean safe, especially with how complex modern vehicles are.
Your insurance company might make recommendations on what shop to use, but the final choice always remains in the hands of the customer. You want to take your car to an auto body shop that will repair your vehicle precisely as the manufacturer instructs, commonly known as OEM repairs. (For tips on finding the best and most trusted local auto body repair shops, click here.)
Another thing to keep in mind is while your insurance company is fighting on your behalf to get reimbursement on the repairs, they’ll probably also tell you to file a complaint with the other insurer. There’s no promise on what this will do, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Contact An Attorney
If none of the above is getting you anywhere, unfortunately the next step is to contact an attorney. It’s not always necessary, but an attorney can assist you with several things regarding the incident. Not to mention, if you were injured in the accident, hiring an attorney would be a wise move so that you can collect the damages that will cover your medical bills and repair costs.
Even if you don’t have injuries from an accident, here’s what one website states an attorney can do for you in the event your claim is denied:
“An attorney can look at all the evidence from the accident, recreate the scene of the crime, and they can determine who is at fault.”
Since most insurance companies are not willing to go to the extent of a judge getting involved, a settlement will more than likely be offered.
No-Fault Insurance States
At this time, there are only 18 states that are considered “no-fault insurance” states. This type of insurance coverage “helps pay for your and your passengers’ medical bills if you’re injured in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident” (Allstate).
It might sound confusing, but it will actually save you the massive headache if both you and the other party follow the laws for being a no-fault insurance state. They wouldn’t owe you anything, and you can return to normal life sooner than later. And who doesn’t want that?
Where In St. Louis Can I Get My Car Repaired?
Here at Hunter Auto Body, we often work with drivers coming into our shop who are in the middle of dealing with these post accident issues. We know it’s shocking when the other driver’s insurance company denies their claim, especially when the other driver was clearly in the wrong.
We are here to help any with questions you may have regarding your policy because that’s the type of service you deserve from an auto repair shop. We proudly serve the St. Louis area and continue to put our customers safety as our number one priority.