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What to do when getting the runaround on auto insurance claim


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Question:  Besides going through my own insurance company, what can I do about getting the runaround from an at-fault driver's insurance company?

Answer:  It can be frustrating when you're not responsible for a car accident and you're getting nowhere with the at-fault party's car insurance company.

If possible, you need to find out why you are getting the runaround. If you find that the adjuster is the reason for the delay, then try requesting that a different claims adjuster be assigned to you.

It might be that the driver isn't cooperating with his auto insurance provider. Without confirmation that the driver was liable for the accident, it's possible that there can be not only a delay in your claim but that it can be denied.  Some state laws allow that if an insured won’t talk to their insurance company the insurer can’t find liability with their policyholder and won’t pay for claims.

Whatever the reason, you as the consumer should be told what the holdup is and be informed on the time frame in which the claim will be accepted or denied.

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Many states have laws that regulate how long it should take car insurance companies to accept and settle your came. The time frame may be “within a reasonable amount of time” or specific -- say, within 30 days.

To find out what your state insurance laws say, contact your state’s insurance regulator. This state agency can give you this information and answer other claims-related questions.

Also, you can make a complaint against insurance company through the insurance regulator’s office. The state will then investigate your complaint to find out what the holdup is with your claim.

If you find that the other driver is uncooperative or that your claim with the other driver’s insurance company is going to take a great deal of time to settle, you may instead want to make a first-party claim through your own car insurance company.

If you go through your own insurer, you will have to pay your collision deductible amount; however, your auto insurer may be able to recoup this money from the at-fault driver’s insurer.

If your own coverage pays out, but they find the other driver at fault, then your insurer will subrogate with that driver’s insurance company for the monies they paid out for your claim and your deductible amount.

While you may not want to use your own car insurance company and pay a deductible, if you do, it leaves your insurer stuck with getting the runaround instead of you.

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