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Can an auto insurance company deny a claim?
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Can an auto insurance company deny a claim?

I had an accident last week for which I was not at fault. The police department clearly agreed with me and they gave the traffic ticket to the other driver for reckless driving. I filed a claim with the other driver's insurance company and they say they are investigating the accident. I asked how long it would take for them to fix my car and they said that if they thought they were responsible they would pay for it, otherwise they would not cover the costs of repairing my car; which are pretty elevated. Can they do this? I have a police report which clearly states that the accident was not my fault. What should I do if they deny my claim?


Robert F
They are not finished the process so don't work yourself up just yet. Allow them reasonable time to do their investigating. Check with your insurance agent and they will be able to tell you what a reasonable time table is. Your insurance agent is your reference for this type of stuff - they deal with this regularly and will be able to answer your question regardless to the fact that the claim is on the other person's insurance company. They should be able to answer general questions for you not specific since you are not filing it with yours.

If they deny the claim after everything has been done. I would then consult my agent and look over the police report with them. After that I would locate a lawyer that focuses on accident situations. Generally, in most cities there is at least two that are well known that will get things done quickly if you have the evidence to show the other vehicle / person is at fault and you were not in particular if there was injury. Realize that the lawyer will obtain a certain percentage (approx 20 or 25...I think).

First of all, they are NOT denying your claim yet. And, what they said does not mean they are going to either. They still are investigating which may mean they still need to talk to their customer about the accident and/or they are waiting to get the police report from the police department.

Insurance companies do not just go by what police but in those police reports. The insurance company looks at how the accident happened and where the damage is to the cars in figuring out whose fault it is.

It can take a couple of weeks or more. So, just hang on and let them finish their work and you will probly get paid.

Why didn't you let your insurance company handle your damages? Did you have collision coverage? That would have been easier if you did have collision coverage.

Police reports don't always determine fault for an accident in the eyes of the insurance company. Tickets don't either. You can be patient and wait or if you need your car fixed, go ahead and claim under your own insurance company if you have collision coverage. Your own insurance company will go after their insurance company and if they collect, you'll get your deductible back. Your only option if they deny the claim or take forever with the claim is to sue the driver in small claims court.

Yes, an auto insurance company can deny a claim.

Police do not determine fault. The ticket would be highly suggestive of fault, but is not binding.

The other person's insurance company has NO duty of good faith towards you. That means, they NEVER have to pay you, until a judge says so.

So. They aren't denying your claim - they don't have to. They don't have to act on it, they don't have to do ANYTHING, because YOU are not their insured.

If you have collision insurance on your car, you file the claim under your policy. If not, you sue the other driver, and the owner of the car, in small claims court. Keep in mind, this reckless driver might not be COVERED by that policy. Also keep in mind, that fault, is decided by legal "standards of fault", and you'll have to argue their being at fault based on them - not on any ticket that was issued, or a police opinion. You'll have to quote the standard that MAKES them at fault.

The insurance company has the right to investigate the claim and IF they determine that their insured is not at fault (for what ever reason) they can deny the claim. A police report is just that -- a report. It's not an eye-witness account of the loss. There are lots of factors involved in a collision and claims are denied thousands of times daily. Let them finish their investigation before you flip-out.

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