Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you make a claim under your auto insurance policy and the company fails to pay, you need to contact your insurance company immediately for the specific reason your claim is being denied
  • There are specific steps you must follow to contest the decision of your insurance company to not pay out your claim. It is important to act quickly
  • There may be valid reasons that your claim is denied, which is why it is so important that you understand exactly what your policy covers
  • If the insurance company did not have a valid reason to deny your claim, you can file a complaint against your insurance company with your state department of insurance
  • If the insurance company fails to settle a claim in good faith, then you may want to seek representation from an experienced attorney

After a filing a claim under your auto insurance policy, you naturally expect that the insurance company will pay your claims.

However, there are many legitimate reasons why your claim could be denied by your insurance company, including that you did not have coverage for the type or amount of damages you are claiming.

On the other side, your insurance company may have wrongfully denied your claim. It is important to follow up right away if you have a legitimate claim to be paid out by your auto insurance company.

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Gathering the Necessary Information to File a Car Insurance Claim

AdobeStock_53649212-1600x1600If you have been involved in a car accident, you should act immediately to secure all of the necessary information to file a car insurance claim.

This includes:

  • The contact information for the other driver
  • Description of the other cars involved
  • Insurance information for the other driver
  • Names of witnesses
  • Exact accident location
  • Contact information for the responding police officer

The more information you can collect at the scene of the accident, the better your chances of recovery from the insurance company.

It is the practice of some insurance companies to try to deny claims or say that the accident was your fault if you do not have sufficient information to describe the accident or show the fault of the other driver.

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Damages You Can Collect from an Auto Insurance Claim

You should also make sure that the type of the damages for which you are seeking recovery are actually covered by your auto insurance.

In general, you may be able to recover for damage to your vehicle, damage to other personal property within the vehicle, rental car expenses while your car is being repaired and out of pocket expenses, such as transportation home from an accident.

If you have been personally injured in an accident, you may also recover for those damages.

Understanding Why Your Auto Insurance Claim Was Denied


If your insurance claim was denied, the insurance company should provide you with the exact reason for the denial in writing.

If you do not get a copy of this, you should request one as soon as possible. You will need to be diligent in following up with the insurance company to pursue acceptance of your claim.

All communications should be in writing in case you have to file a complaint against your insurer at a later date.

Sometimes, following up with the claims adjuster on a weekly basis can show that you are persistent and responsible in seeking coverage for your claim.

The insurance company will be more likely to take your inquiry seriously, and this will get the ball moving toward the settlement of your claim sooner.

If you do not feel like your concerns are being adequately addressed by the claims adjuster, you should submit a request to speak to the claims adjuster’s supervisor.

You should be documenting all communications with the insurance company in writing in case you need to retain the services of an attorney to pursue recovery for your claim.

Other Avenues of Recovery from Your Insurance Company

When settlement talks with your insurance company completely break down, you may need to retain an attorney to keep the pressure on the insurance company.

Keep in mind that there may be a certain deadline by which you would need to file a lawsuit according to your state’s statute of limitations. You should not delay in consulting with an attorney so that you do not miss the deadline to file a suit.

Every insurance company has a duty to negotiate the settlement of a claim in good faith. This means that they must have a legitimate reason to deny your claim.

If you suggest to your insurance company that it is acting in bad faith in denying your claim, this may get your concerns addressed more quickly.

It is important to remember that an insurance company may not be acting in bad faith just because your claim was denied or you do not agree with the adjuster about the value of your claim.

If the claims adjuster submits a specific reason for the denial of your claim, it is likely that your claim was given proper consideration. If not, you will probably want to raise the potential issue of a bad faith claim in writing to your insurance company.

When shopping for auto insurance coverage, getting the lowest price should not be your only consideration. In the event you do have to file a claim in the future, you want to be sure your insurance company has a reputation for handling claims in a responsible manner.

Before signing up with a new insurance company, do your homework to make sure that customers are generally satisfied with the way that the claims process is handled by the insurer.

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Filing a Complaint Against Your Insurance Company

AdobeStock_75573868-1600x1600You have the option of filing a claim against your insurance company with the department of insurance for your state. Each state will have different procedures for filing a claim, so make sure you are meeting all of the requirements for your state.

It is important to take action immediately to understand why your claim was denied by your auto insurance company.

If there was a legitimate reason for your auto insurance claim to be covered under your existing policy, then you will need to negotiate in writing with the insurance company to have it paid.

If the insurance company does not cooperate, you may need to retain an attorney and possibly file a complaint with the department of insurance for your state.

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