Luckily, most auto accident claims are handled well and settled pretty quickly. But sometimes, they aren’t. And when you’re the one waiting and wondering, it can get pretty frustrating. And if there are injuries and medical bills, then your level of frustration can reach epic proportions. There are usually a handful of reasons why your claim isn’t getting paid. Read on for examples and solutions so maybe your claim can continue moving forward instead of being stalled in neutral.
Reason #1- The police report isn’t complete
So if you have an accident on public roadways, the police will complete an accident report that collects the facts of the accident, the drivers (and passengers) involved, note who’s at fault for the accident (this is HUGE), and even draw a sketch of the accident scene, if possible.
The most important part of the accident report from the standpoint of the insurance company is who’s at fault. The majority of liability claims are paid based on the concept of negligence. “Negligence” is defined as the failure to exercise the degree of care required of a reasonable and prudent person in any given circumstance resulting in injury or damage to another. As a general rule- negligent = at fault (and thus legally liable) .Not negligent = not at fault (and not legally liable). What if fault can’t be determined? Read our article How Car Insurance Responds When Fault Can’t Be Determined for complete details.
If the police report isn’t complete, then it’s impossible to know who’s negligent and therefore who’s insurance will ultimately be responsible for paying.
Reason #2- The other carrier hasn’t yet accepted liability
Continuing with this idea of negligence, the other insurance company must accept liability for the accident before anything happens. As mentioned, the police report is often the deciding factor. So if it’s not done, that stalls the process. Another reason they haven’t yet accepted liability could include not being able to get statements from all involved parties. Whatever the reason might be, it‘s definitely related to not getting all the required information in order to determine who’s at fault.
Because trust me, insurance companies just don’t roll over and start cutting checks because you say it’s the other person’s fault. They need facts.
Reason #3- The other carrier doesn’t know how to get a hold of you
This happens way more often than you think. In fact, it just happened here. Our customer’s mailbox was damaged by a driver on a Thursday. A week later, the police report still wasn’t done, but I was able to get the other driver information verbally. When I contacted the other insurance company, the claim had been submitted, but they had no information about my client. So I gave them her name and phone number so they could get in touch with my customer to start getting her mailbox fixed.
Reason #4- The claim hasn’t been submitted to the other company yet
Yep, unfortunately, there are many cases where someone causes an accident, but never reports the accident to his or her insurance company. The reasons may be many, but the fact remains until it’s reported you simply don’t exist to that insurance company.
We’ve had to play private detective many times and continue to do so for our customers. If we’re asked to help, we obtain the police report to see who the other party is and which insurance company is listed. We always try local insurance agencies first, then if insured by a national carrier (like State Farm, Nationwide, Progressive or several others you’re familiar with), we call their national claims number and see if a claim has been turned in.
If yes, we get the claim number and provide our customer’s contact information (see Reason #3 above). If no, then we submit the claim on our customer’s behalf.
Reason #5- The line of communication has just stopped
As you probably already figured out, many auto claims problems stem from communication issues- the other carrier doesn’t know about the claim, or know who you are, for example. But perhaps it’s not the beginning of the claim, but somewhere along the way. Maybe the adjuster is waiting on you to provide medical bills, or an estimate to repair your vehicle. Perhaps the adjuster is talking with the body shop and they are trying to reach an agreement as to the cost to repair your vehicle. If your vehicle was towed from the scene, it’s possible that the adjuster is having trouble getting in to see the vehicle to assess the damage.
The list goes on, but sometimes the delay is simply because SOMEONE is waiting for SOMETHING. When in doubt, contact the claims adjuster yourself and ask what has delayed the process. If necessary, you can ask your agent to get involved to help you navigate the claim (one of our standard services).
9 times out of 10, a lack of communication is often the main stopping point during an auto insurance claim.
Worried that your agent won’t be there if you need help with a claim? Call us at 937-592-4871. We'll review your insurance and get you a quote pretty easily. We're also happy to discuss how we typically help people during a claim. You can also request your quote on our website.