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I have a valid and active policy, but my insurance company has the wrong car listed and wont pay a claim from a car accident.

Silver Spring, MD |

I was in a car accident that was incorrectly deemed as my fault. My insurance won't pay any claims because it has no record of my new car on the policy.
I bought the car 2 months ago after my other car was totaled in the snow. My insurance company took possession of the totaled car and paid me the settlement so I could purchase a new car. I went through a dealership, and my new car was tagged, titled, and registered through the state of maryland. The car they DO have on my active policy, is the one that was totaled. I have been making monthly payments for insurance on a car they know is totaled.
I don't know what recourse I have as they are refusing to pay any claim.

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

You should gather all of the paperwork that you have from the first accident, the paperwork for the purchase of the second car, and all paperwork from the insurance company and then meet with a lawyer. If you have an insurance agent I would also seek his or her help.

Asker

Posted

From what I understand, Maryland won't issue tags or registration without proof of insurance. So there has to be some record -- I don't have an insurance agent. It is keystone insurance through AAA auto insurance. I don't have money for an attorney -- are these situations common for contingency?

Asker

Posted

I will gather all the info that I have.

George Pittman Patterson

George Pittman Patterson

Posted

When you buy a new vehicle you have a grace period to provide the new vehicle information to the insurance company. The registration required proof of insurance. You had a policy but there was still an obligation to provide the new car information. The other issue is that your company was on notice that the car it was accepting premiums to insure no longer existed.

Asker

Posted

Oh. I honestly don't remember what I did when I bought the car. I thought I did everything I was suppose to. Even if that is my fault, are they at all liable for taking money from me for the other car then?

George Pittman Patterson

George Pittman Patterson

Posted

You will need to look at the policy and to the extent the policy does not answer the question a review of the insurance code and case law will be required. Most auto insurance companies craft policy language that fully complies with Maryland law. There are some limited exceptions that I do not believe apply to your situation.

Posted

It sounds like an issue between you, your agent and the company. Assuming it's just a typographical error you should be able to correct the issue with a few phone calls. If it's an entirely different vehicle that was not previously insured by you, it's clear the agent and/ or insurance company made an internal error. Worst case contact your state's insurance commissioner. Please keep in mind however, that the policy is a legally binding contract and have a responsibility to confirm they information provided to them is accurate.

Asker

Posted

I thought it would be just a typographical error -- I have called and spoke with supervisors who won't budge. I would think it's illegal to continue to bill/collect for a car that they know is totaled. Both cars were honda civics, just different years. that's what makes me wonder if there was some typographical error. The insurance company is not working with me, however, and my car is sitting in a tow lot without being fixed.

Posted

In general, replacement vehicles are considered insured for a period of time under the policy for the car it replaced, but you still need to inform the insurance company usually within 30 days.

I am a personal injury lawyer located in Dayton, Ohio. I am an experienced trial lawyer who represents injury victims against the insurance companies. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. I am not providing any legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of Ohio. You should contact an attorney for legal advice.

Posted

In addition to gathering all your information about when you purchased your new car, etc., you need to establish what notice, if any, you provided to your insurance carrier that you actually bought a new car and notified them to add it to your policy. The insurance premium for some coverages under your policy, such as collision, comprehensive and PIP, vary depending on the year, make, model and anti-theft and safety features (side air bags, etc.), of the vehicle. The insurance company appears to be stating that you never notified them of your new vehicle and never formally added the vehicle to the policy. Had you done so, you would have received a new policy declaration page and a new premium. merely paying the old premium for a different vehicle is not the equivalent, and may entitle you to a refund, but it does not answer the question from the insurer's standpoint as to why you never added the new car to the policy. Perhaps there is some basis to argue for coverage, but that may depend on more facts. I would try to get a supervisor on the phone at your insurance company, and obtain at least a waiver to backdate coverage with payment of any additional premium due applicable to the new car. If you have been a long-term policy holder, they should bend their rules. If you can get nowhere with them, then you may try filing a complaint with the Maryland Insurance Commissioner, here: http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us/sa/consumer/file-a-complaint.html#File a Complaint Online

Asker

Posted

Thank you for the advice. I was sure I did everything I was told to do at the dealer -- the salesman who sold me the car remembers getting the VIN number for me while I was on the phone to add it. I only remember doing what I was told to do for my car, and I honestly don't remember specifically what conversations I had with my insurance company. This could all be my fault. But when the police looked up my information at the accident, it showed my policy information for my new car and that it was in fact insured. So the State of Maryland does actually think I'm insured. But my insurance company does not.

Posted

If you did not give the insurer the details on the new car, how do you expect it to know what car to have insured?

Asker

Posted

except I did make a call to them. and the salesman at the dealer I bought the car from remembers giving me the information while i called. And the state of maryland has all my insurance information for the new car. As far as I'm concerned, I did everything I was suppose to for my car to be insured.

Posted

Generally replacement vehicles are covered automatically for 30 days after purchase. You, as the insured, are responsible for informing your insurance company that you have, in fact, purchased a new car. Simply because you got paid for the vehicle does not put them on notice that you have purchased a new one and what that vehicle is. Insurance rates are determined, in part, by the make and the model of the vehicle you purchase. You need to report this new purchase in order to be covered after 30 days.

Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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