Friday, December 13, 2013

Car Insurance Claims Horror Stories

The nightmare of contributory negligence... Is this the way YOUR state does things?

We had a young lady insured in our agency. She was driving to work one day, waiting to make a left-hand turn, with her turn-signals on, etc... As approaching traffic cleared, she began her turn... just as the bonehead behind her was passing on her left! There was a grinding collision...!

Obviously, it was the passing driver's fault, and we had our insured file a claim against that driver's car insurance. That is when we found out the other driver was uninsured.

No problem, we thought. The other driver was speeding, driving without a license, driving without car insurance, passing at an intersection... Clearly at fault... This is exactly why we carry "Uninsured Motorist" coverage... to pay for our damages and injuries if we are struck by an at-fault uninsured driver.

So our insured filed a claim under her own policy's UM coverage. Simple solution... But the company denied the claim! The reason? CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE.

This legal doctrine, as it applies to car insurance, simply says that if you are found to have contributed to the loss to any degree, you cannot collect from the other party!!! How did she contribute? The car insurance company said she should have checked her rear-view mirror to see if a speeding, unlicensed, illegally passing bonehead was there before she started her turn..!!! Unbelievable...

Another car insurance claim that went wrong...

Under the "med pay" coverage of your car insurance policy, coverage is provided for injuries to anyone "occupying" a covered auto. If you look in the definitions of the policy, however, you see what they mean by occupying... You are "occupying" the car in you are in it... on it... getting into it... getting out of it... getting onto it... or getting off of it!

This can lead to some very interesting claims...

The most bizarre med pay claim I ever saw went like this: There was a girl and a guy out on a date. After the movie and dinner, they found themselves with too much time and privacy on their hands, one thing led to another, and the girl found herself pregnant.

The family did not anticipate their teenage daughter getting pregnant, and had no maternity coverage on their health insurance. So they filed a claim and under the boy's father's car insurance policy's "med pay" coverage! After all, they said... it was an "injury sustained while occupying a covered auto"!

They received full maternity coverage for pre-natal care and delivery!

And we wonder why our car insurance premiums are so high...

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