Auto Insurance Claims Process Pitfalls

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When you pay car insurance premiums, you expect the company to be there for you after an accident. Unfortunately, your insurer may try to minimize your compensation or even deny your claim altogether. Knowing more about the claims process helps protect your right to fair compensation.

If your insurance broker recommends the minimum insurance required by Pennsylvania law, that may not be enough in a serious accident:

  • $15,000 for an injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for injuries or deaths to more than one person
  • $5000 of property damage insurance
  • $5,000 of  No-fault Personal Injury Protection

Uninsured Motorist Insurance is optional. However, without it, if you are seriously injured by an uninsured driver, your only choice is to sue someone who probably does not have the assets to cover your damages.

Problems you might encounter during the claims process include:

  • Policy restrictions and limitations. Not reading the fine print on complex insurance policies leads to the loss of benefits, for example, by missing filing deadlines.
  • Recommended vehicle repair shops. Auto body shops related to your insurer may underestimate damage, use inferior replacement parts, or offer less than fair market value for your car.
  • Required medical experts. Insurance company doctors may devalue your injuries or attribute them to previous accidents and medical conditions. They can claim you have reached full medical improvement before you are completely recovered.
  • Releases, written and recorded statements.  Adjusters push accident victims for written and recorded statements for use later in court to minimize damages. Rights to additional claims are lost by signing misunderstood releases.
  • Stalling. While the insurance company delays, accident victims’ bills and anxieties grow, making them more amenable to lowball settlements.
  • Unfair first settlement offers. Once a settlement is accepted, you cannot go back and ask for more money.
  • Denial. Frustrated policyholders may give up even when their denied claims have merit.