Most don't think a whole lot about our car insurance—that is, until we need it. Judging from the wacky and warmhearted insurance commercials out there, you’d think that car insurance companies are all about holding your hand through the difficult times. That, however, is a myth of advertising, and if you’ve suffered through a car accident, you need to think critically about your car insurance and about how best to proceed.
Your Insurance Company and Your Policy
We’re all required to carry auto insurance in Pennsylvania, and we all purchase that insurance with the hope that we’ll never to have to use it. Pennsylvania, furthermore, provides for no-fault insurance with a variation called “Choice.” As an insured driver in Pennsylvania, therefore, you’re offered the choice of purchasing either a less-expensive no-fault auto insurance policy or a more traditional liability-based policy.
Although a no-fault policy is more economical, buyer beware. With a no-fault policy, your car insurance company is responsible for covering the damages you suffer in a car accident, but limits that coverage solely to your economic damages and will not cover your pain and suffering (which is commonly associated with many kinds of car accidents). Pennsylvania does recognize exceptions for “serious injuries” within this no-fault framework.
If another driver’s negligence injured you, contact an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney. The involved auto insurance company may not prioritize your best interests in these often complicated cases. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we have the skill, experience, and dedication to aggressively advocate for your car accident claim’s most positive resolution—and we’re here to help.
Insurance Companies: Business as Usual
If a car accident has left you injured, it’s natural for you to feel overwhelmed and at a loss of how best to proceed. Many people seek the path of least resistance, which means accepting the initial settlement that their insurance company offers. This is often a mistake. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, which involves denying and underpaying on as many claims as they can possibly get away with—including yours.
While they must meet industry and federal standards, insurance companies are also adept at working around the rules.
The American Association of Justice put out a report, Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse and Refuse, that outlines exactly how low some insurance companies will go to bolster their own profits. The association documents how even some of the best-known and well-advertised insurance companies (the ones that spend all that advertising money to gain your trust) aren’t above endeavoring “to deny claims, delay payments, confuse consumers with incomprehensible insurance-speak, and retroactively refuse anyone who may cost them money.” While this is difficult to understand, we’ve all had an insurance experience or two that’s left us shaking our heads.
Tricks of the Trade
The American Association of Justice goes on to highlight some of the tactics that insurance companies commonly employ:
- Denying claims outright. Some insurance companies simply make it a policy to outright deny as many claims as they can possibly get away with, which naturally is a great way for them to save big. Some insurance companies go so far as to reward the employees who deny the most claims. If your car insurance company is making noises about denying your claim, you need experienced legal counsel.
- Delaying the not-so-inevitable. Another simple but effective tactic is delaying the insurance process to the point that many claimants simply give up (and meanwhile, insurance companies make money off the interest and investments in which they keep the eventual payouts). Sometimes giving up is just the easiest path—and if you’re injured in a car accident, you may not have much fight left in you. Your skilled car accident attorney, however, can step in for you. Experienced lawyers know how to deal with insurance companies and can help you effectively and efficiently move your claim toward just resolution.
- Speaking the language. Contracts of any sort are well known for how hard they are to understand, but car insurance policies sometimes purposely incorporate incomprehensible language—again, to delay the claim. Some insurance companies also incorporate obscure coverage clauses that policyholders never understand—until it’s too late and those clauses end up working against them.
Penalizing policyholders. Some insurance companies will even penalize their own customers when those customers call in to ask questions about their coverage (such as after car accidents). Some car insurance companies implement a calculation tool that weights a call for information about a policy with the same penalty that’s afforded an actual claim. Insurance companies sometimes treat with hostility policyholders who are so bold as to inquire about the extent of their coverage—and these insurance companies can even try to get rid of such customers.
You purchased car insurance because you’re legally mandated to do so and because you need coverage in the unhappy event that you’re ever involved in an accident. When the insurance company from which you purchase coverage takes measures to avoid adequately covering you when you need it, you can feel cheated.
Your car accident claim and your rights are too important to leave to chance—or to the car insurance company. You need experienced legal counsel.
If a Car Accident Left You Injured, Consult an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents can upset anyone, and if one has injured you, resist the inclination to simply allow your insurance company to deal with the fallout. While that’s why you purchased a policy in the first place, this strategy won’t likely serve your best interests. Put simply, insurance companies put their own profits first.
The dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia has the skill, experience, and commitment to fight for your car accident claim’s best possible resolution. We care about your case, and we’re here to help—so please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.