Taking out an insurance policy is an act of trust and you may be worried that when the time to claim comes around, your claim might be disputed, delayed or even rejected. Insurance companies are capitalist enterprises based on the need for profits, so expecting them to be charitable and pay out all claims is a little naive. If an insurance company thinks it has a legitimate reason to turn down a claim it will definitely do so. Sometime these insurers make mistakes and more often than not these mistakes are made with car and motorcycle accident claims. Luckily for you, there are laws in place in most countries that prevent insurance companies from breaking the rules.
Generally, laws regarding claims will include the following regulations:
- Your claim must be acknowledged within a certain amount of time, usually fifteen days, but this varies.
- Insurance companies have to investigate your claim properly.
- Make a full-faith attempt to process your claim in a timely and efficient manner while still striving towards an equitable settlement of your claim.
- Insurers may not refuse a claim without a valid reason.
These regulations will vary from country to country and state to state, but generally the implications will be the same or very similar. If you feel that your insurance company is not fulfilling its obligation according to the applicable laws, you will usually have a board of some kind to report them to. These boards may find that the company in question has numerous complaints against them for the same or similar offences and as such revoke their license. In some countries these types of organizations are called ‘ombudsman’.
Sometimes insurance companies reject motor insurance claims due to valid reasons, but the circumstances around the claim nullify these reasons. An example of this would be an insurer rejecting a claim for a motor vehicle accident based on the poor condition of the insured vehicle's tires. This is a valid reason, but if the vehicle in question was stationary at the time of the accident then it is no longer applicable.
Depending on where you reside, you could even sue the company if you feel that they are in breach of their insurance contract. Before you do so, however, there are some things you should seriously consider.
When you buy the policy, always complete the application completely and honestly. If you lie, this would be reason enough for your insurer to legally deny a claim. Make notes, while your broker or agent explains the terms and conditions of your policy and make sure you completely understand them. If you do not understand your policy and take your insurer to court due to this misunderstanding, your case will probably be thrown out and you may even have to pay for all the legal expenses.
When you need to claim, go over your policy to refresh your memory regarding what you are covered for. Making notes when you buy your policy could come in handy at this point in time as you will be able to refer to them in order to understand everything correctly. Be honest about your claim and do not exaggerate your claim. Keep all receipts and proof of ownership. Most importantly, keep a record of every communication that you have with your insurer.
Unfortunately there are so many unknown factors that could slow down your insurance claim. However, as long as you are truthful and use common you will get through the unpleasantness of claiming and be successfully reimbursed for your losses.