Car accidents are a stressful experience, but add in the aftermath dealing with the clean up and it can make it 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.
You weren’t at fault in this accident, and the last thing you would ever imagine happening is the other driver’s insurance company denying liability. Unfortunately it does happen and we are here to help you know what to do if this does happen.
Let’s walk through this together: You called in the accident to the other driver’s insurance company and notified them that the driver collided with you. You give them all they need to satisfy the claim. So far every step you have followed is the right thing to do: You took photos of the damage, potentially called the police and they completed a report, and you have a detailed description of what took place leading up to the accident.
Next, you notify your insurance company and wait anxiously for the other driver’s insurance to get back to you. It was obvious you were not at fault, so you wouldn’t even consider the possibility the other driver’s insurance company would deny responsibility. But you just got the call that the other driver is denying the claim on their insurance.
Why Your Claim Was Denied
Understandably, this news is shocking but this does happen more often than you might think. There could be a few possible reasons why your claim was denied. The most used reason for denying a claim is usually placed on the police officers present at the scene. The insurance company will state the officer(s) did not officially or clearly identity 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
Like most people, you may be confused, feeling helpless, and unsure of what to do next. You might even consider calling a lawyer. While contacting a lawyer in this case is never a bad idea, the first thing you should do is ask the other driver’s insurance company for immediate proof.
What exactly does proof mean? Insurance companies are require to provide you with the documentation of the incident. They may try to avoid giving this to you, but the sooner you ask for it, and demand for it if they don’t, the soon you will have what you need to help your case.
After you get this information (and even if you don’t) your next move is to call your own insurance company. They should offer insight and guidance on what to do next. They will also pay for the repairs to your vehicle so you can at least begin the repair process. 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.
Choosing a collision repair shop
Choosing the right auto body repair shop can often be an overlooked matter in the midst of the stress of the accident and dealing with the insurance companies. However, your collision repair is imperative to your safety. You want to be sure to research the shop and know they do quality repairs, not just fast repairs.
Most insurance companies will have a list of recommended shops to use, but it’s ultimately your choice. Its in your best interest 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.)
Once your insurance company begins to fight on your behalf to get reimbursement for the repairs, they will want you to also 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 Starr Collision & Body Shop, 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 Saugerties area and continue to put our customers safety as our number one priority. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or to get an online quote, click any of the buttons below! Or, feel free to give us a call at (845) 247-7411. We look forward to hearing from you!