Motor Category Motor: car insurance and finance

How to Appeal to an Insurance Company That Won't Pay for Car Damages

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse after a car accident, you get notification from your insurance company that your claim has been denied.

That news is not what anyone wants to hear, but if it happens to you, you do have options. The trick is to follow the appeals process carefully as you work to get the denial reversed.

Check your policy. In order to convince your car insurance company to change their mind about your claim, you have to first be sure that they didn't have grounds to deny it. Between collision, comprehensive and liability coverage, car insurance policies can be extremely complex, and many people don't take the time to read the whole thing when they buy insurance. The letter you received denying your claim should say exactly why your claim was denied. Compare it to your policy to make sure the denial was inappropriate.

Call your insurance company. Before you lodge a formal appeal, pick up the phone and discuss the claim denial with the insurance company. Explain why you think they inappropriately turned down your claim and ask them to reverse their decision. If you can't convince them to change their minds, then ask them to explain their appeals process to you, including where you should send the appeal. This information should be in your policy as well, but verify everything with an agent and take note of the person's name who gave you the advice and the date you spoke with that agent in case you run into a problem down the line.

Lodge a written claim appeal. Your appeal letter should be brief and to the point but cover all of the bases. Clearly state the specifics of the damage to the car, why you think they were wrong to deny your claim and that you want them to reverse their decision. Include supporting evidence, such as photos of the damage to your car and police reports from the accident in your appeal.

Examine the police report carefully, as there are times when police reports contain inaccurate information. This is unfortunate when it happens, because the insurance company may base their denial on the report. If the report is in error, make an appointment with the police department and attempt to set the record straight. Get them to put any changes in writing and take a copy to the insurance company. Explain to the insurance company that the initial police report is in error.

Go to your state insurance board. If your car insurance company refuses to pay up, and you still believe they are in the wrong, your state insurance board can offer moderation to help you reach a settlement with the company. Check your state government's website to find out how to contact the state insurance board.

Hire a lawyer. If all else fails, a lawyer that specialises in insurance law can help you try to get your car insurance company to pay.