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Auto Insurance Claim Denied - Now What?

Alexis O'Connell

You were involved in an accident. You submitted a claim to your auto insurance company, and have been patiently waiting for their reply. When you hear back, you find out that your car insurance claim was denied. Now what?

Dealing with an auto insurance claim denial can be frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive, depending on the specifics of your case and how you choose to respond. Informing yourself of your options now will better prepare you to react to a claim denial down the road, should your insurance company surprise you with one.

Why Was My Claim Denied?

There are a variety of reasons why your auto insurance company might deny your claim. Traditionally, you’ll receive a letter stating a specific explanation for the denial.

Some of the most common reasons for an auto insurance claim denial include:

  • If your policy doesn’t include the coverage you filed a claim under. For example, if you file a claim for repairs to your vehicle after an accident, your claim won’t be accepted unless you carry collision coverage
  • If your coverage lapsed. If you let your policy lapse, you weren't covered at tge time of the accident.
  • If you purchased an additional vehicle without informing your insurance company. A claim may denied if the vehicle wasn’t listed on the policy. If you buy a new car, you typically have 30 days to inform your insurer.
  • If the damages that you’re filing for exceed your policy limits. You'll be paid up the limits of your policy, and the remainder will be denied.
  • If you didn’t seek medical treatment immediately after an accident. From an insurance standpoint, it’s important to seek medical treatment immediately for any injuries caused by an accident. Delays in treatment lead to suspicion that your injuries could have been caused by something other than the accident. 

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What Options Do I Have Now?

Here's what to do:

  1. Understand exactly why your claim was denied. You may realize you didn't have the right coverage for your claim.
  2. If you’re still not sure why your claim was denied after reading the correspondence from your insurance company, talk to your agent or insurer. If the denial was due to a small error, fix any problems and resubmit the claim.
  3. Even insurance companies make mistakes sometimes; it’s possible that your claim was processed incorrectly. If the reasoning provided in your claim denial doesn’t match the facts that you provided to your insurance company in your claim, you have grounds to dispute the denial.

If you decide to dispute the claim, you can:

  • Send corrections directly to your insurer. 

  • If you believe your claim should have been paid, contact your state insurance department. They can help resolve disputes and you can file a complaint if necessar