Mistakes To Avoid With Your Auto Insurance Claim

June 23, 2024

By Promoting Justice

Navigating auto insurance claims post-accident can be a daunting task. From claim denials to disputes over coverage, the process can quickly become overwhelming. However, seeking assistance from an experienced and compassionate personal injury attorney can oftentimes help victims of car accidents efficiently resolve these challenges. Experienced personal injury attorneys are trained to understand the intricacies of auto insurance policies and in many cases can help accident victims decipher the reasons behind claim rejections. By providing valuable insights and guidance, personal injury attorneys are often able to empower individuals to address issues such as policy lapses, inadequate coverage, or disputed damages effectively. To learn even more, consider scheduling a consultation with a dedicated car accident lawyer from Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer to discuss your unique situation. Residents of Florida, New Hampshire, and Vermont can reach our offices by calling (802) 457-4848.

What Is an Auto Insurance Claim?

When filing an auto insurance claim after a motor vehicle accident, individuals in Florida, New Hampshire, and Vermont may encounter common mistakes that could lead to claim denials or delays. Understanding these pitfalls and taking preventive measures can help ensure a smoother claims process.

Common Mistakes in Filing Auto Insurance Claims

There are oftentimes common mistakes our attorneys see when individuals attempt to file auto insurance claims without seeking the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. 

  • Not Meeting Policy Requirements: One common error is not having the appropriate coverage for the type of damage incurred in the accident. While some accident situations truly are unforeseeable, motorists can significantly reduce their risk of this particular issue by reviewing their auto insurance policies regularly to ensure they have the right coverage to meet their foreseeable needs.
  • Providing False Information: Supplying inaccurate or misleading details about the accident can result in claim rejection. Although drivers involved in car accidents are sometimes tempted to deviate from the facts in order to present an account they believe will favor their case, it is important to provide truthful and consistent information when filing an auto insurance claim.
  • Exceeding Policy Limits: Damages that exceed the responsible party’s policy limits can lead to claim denials. Although anticipating the limits of other drivers’ policies is not often a practical approach, understanding the coverage limits in your own policy can help to reduce the frequency of this issue.
  • Delaying Claim Submission: Waiting too long to file a claim can result in its rejection. Motorists should adhere to their insurers’ time limits for claim submission to avoid complications.

Being aware of common mistakes in filing auto insurance claims and engaging the services of personal injury lawyers can oftentimes benefit motorists involved in motor vehicle accidents. By taking proactive measures and seeking professional guidance, individuals can navigate the claims process more effectively, and ensure that they receive the justice and compensation they deserve under the law. 

Role of Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury lawyers often help their clients navigate auto insurance claims. Experienced attorneys are often able to offer valuable assistance to car accident victims. Attorneys practicing in the area of personal injury law frequently assist clients by reviewing their auto insurance policies, gathering the documentation necessary to support auto insurance claims, and negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of their clients. By leveraging the benefit of professional legal assistance after a car accident, motorists may be able to increase their chances of securing compensation for vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and loss of income more efficiently and with reduced stress compared to pursuing the entire process on their own.

Understanding Basic Car Insurance Types for Claims 

Some of the most common mistakes made in filing auto insurance claims actually happen as a result of misunderstanding the different types of car insurance and what they cover. To people not working in the insurance industry or practicing personal injury law, the distinct types of car insurance policies, and the terminology used for the kinds of damages covered under them, can easily seem obscure. A good basic understanding of the different types of car insurance can therefore set car owners and accident victims up for success when it comes time to file a claim.

Liability Insurance 

Liability insurance is a key component of most auto insurance policies, including those in Florida, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Liability car insurance is designed to protect drivers or vehicle owners who are at fault in an accident and cause injuries or property damage to others. Liability insurance helps cover the costs of the other party’s medical expenses and property repairs.

Liability Insurance Requirements by State

While most states require the owners of all registered motor vehicles to maintain auto insurance policies, the minimum liability requirements for those policies vary from state to state. New Hampshire is an exception in that this state does not mandate auto insurance liability coverage; instead, uninsured drivers in New Hampshire who may be found “at-fault” for a motor vehicle accident are required under § 264.3 NH Rev. Stat. to show what the state calls “proof of security” – essentially, evidence that they have sufficient funds to cover the likely cost of damages resulting from the accident.

Minimum Coverage vs. Adequate Coverage

Given the potentially severe financial consequences of liability for a car accident, many New Hampshire drivers do choose to carry liability insurance on their motor vehicles; the coverage for these policies is subject to the minimum requirements established by the State of New Hampshire Insurance Department. In all states, however, one of the most common mistakes motorists make is underestimating the importance of having sufficient liability coverage. To avoid unfortunate financial outcomes for themselves as well as others, car owners may wish to prioritize selecting auto insurance policies whose liability limits are adequate to protect their assets in case of a serious accident.

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance is another essential type of coverage that helps pay for repairs to your own vehicle after an accident, regardless of fault. Many lenders impose proof of collision insurance coverage as a condition of financing on cars that are not yet paid off, but in many states – including Florida, New Hampshire, and Vermont – collision insurance is not required on all vehicles as a matter of law.

One mistake car owners will wish to avoid is assuming that they no longer need collision coverage on older vehicles whose financing obligations have already been met. The reality is that even minor accidents can result in significant repair costs, regardless of the age or financing status of the vehicle. A sound strategy for avoiding this error is to weigh the potential repair expenses against the cost of collision coverage, usually measured within a specific timeframe that makes sense for the auto owners’ overall financial situation.

No-Fault Auto Insurance Laws

States set their own auto insurance laws, and requirements concerning no-fault insurance coverage may be particularly variable. In no-fault states like Florida, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is mandatory and helps pay for medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault in an accident, as explained by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. One common mistake drivers in no-fault insurance states make is not fully understanding how no-fault laws work and the coverage limits specified in the policy. To avoid unnecessary headaches in filing auto insurance claims, drivers in these states will want to familiarize themselves with the specific requirements in their jurisdictions and regularly review their insurance policies to ensure they comply with applicable regulations.

Common Reasons Auto Claims Are Denied

Many auto insurance claims are initially denied, for a variety of reasons. Some of these initial denials are the result of errors made by the individuals filing the claims. Understanding these common mistakes can help motorists avoid potential claim rejections. Here are some frequent reasons why auto insurance claims are denied:

  • Avoidable Accidents: Insurers may deny claims if they believe the accident was avoidable. Letting an unlicensed driver operate the vehicle is one of the many reasons an insurance company may consider an accident to have been avoidable.
  • Failure To Meet Policy Terms: Not adhering to the terms of the insurance policy can lead to claim denials. Policyholders are responsible for understanding and complying with the terms outlined in their policy documents.
  • Missed Deadlines: Failing to submit the claim within the insurer’s specified time limit can result in denial. Motorists should ensure they are aware of the deadline for filing claims and submit all required documentation promptly.

Speak With Our Personal Injury Lawyers To Ensure You Receive the Justice You Deserve

As motor vehicle accidents can happen unexpectedly, being prepared for the claims process is crucial. In states like Florida, New Hampshire, and Vermont, where specific regulations may apply, seeking guidance from a personal injury lawyer can be beneficial. An experienced car accident lawyer may be in a position to assist car accident victims in navigating the complexities of auto insurance claims. In many cases, a personal injury attorney familiar with state law and insurance requirements can help individuals understand their policy coverage, gather necessary documentation, negotiate with insurers, and ensure timely compensation for damages incurred in the accident. Schedule your own consultation with a car accident attorney in Vermont, New Hampshire, or Florida by calling Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer at (802) 457-4848 to speak with a member of our experienced and knowledgeable personal injury team.