What Can I Do If My Car Insurance Company Won’t Pay or Is Stalling?

Last Updated on October 10, 2023

Is your car insurance company dragging its feet? Are they refusing to pay your claim? Do they continue to stall while your bills pile up?

In this situation, you have a number of different options available. Sometimes, an insurance company is stalling for a legitimate reason – they’re waiting to get your medical records from your healthcare provider, for example.

In other cases, your insurance company is stalling because they believe you’ve committed fraud and need to investigate your claim further. Or your insurance company may be acting in bad faith. They’re stalling to delay, confuse, and refuse clients as they seek legitimate compensation.

Keep reading to discover your options if an insurance company is dragging its feet or stalling.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Insurance companies may stall claims for various reasons, including legitimate processing delays, suspicions of fraud, or acting in bad faith to reduce payouts.
  2. Before escalating matters, it’s essential to communicate with your insurance company to understand the reason for any delays in your claim.
  3. Hiring an auto insurance lawyer can be beneficial in situations where you’re unable to work post-accident, there’s a dispute over fault, or there are extensive damages or injuries.
  4. Some insurance companies may employ tactics to delay or reduce claims, such as offering quick settlements, using medical records against you, or setting arbitrary deadlines.

Is Your Insurance Company Really Stalling? Call Them to Find Out

Car insurance claims can take a while. Even something as simple as a fender bender can often take up to 30 days to complete. Sometimes, your insurance company isn’t stalling: they’re legitimately processing your claim, and it’s just taking some time.

Before you take more serious action (like contacting a lawyer), you’ll want to contact your insurance company.

Talk to your insurance agent and ask why your claim is taking so long. Ask when you can expect the claim to be complete.

Sometimes, a complicated claim can take a long time to process. If there are lots of medical expenses, for example, along with lost wages and totaled vehicles, then your claim may take significantly longer than a minor fender bender.

If you’re unsatisfied with the answer provided by your insurance agent or adjuster, talk to your insurance company’s complaint line. Every company has a complaint line.

During your communications with your insurance company, something might seem “off”. If you believe your insurance company is not treating you fairly, or if you believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith, then it may be time to take things to the next level.

Consider Hiring an Auto Insurance Lawyer

In some cases, your insurance company is dragging its feet to avoid paying out a claim.

Your insurance company is a for-profit business. It’s your insurance company’s goal to pay you the lowest amount they’re legally required to pay. They’ll try to use every loophole available to limit your payout and deny coverage.

If you feel your insurance company is acting in bad faith or refusing to cover certain damages, then it may be time to contact a lawyer. It’s possible to sue your own insurance company.

When to Hire a Lawyer for Your Car Insurance Claim

Here are some of the situations where you may wish to hire a lawyer for your car insurance claim:

You’re Unable to Work

You may wish to hire an accident attorney if you’re unable to work after an accident. If you’ve lost wages, or if you’re about to lose your job due to an accident, then a lawyer may be able to secure compensation from your insurance company – or the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

There’s a Dispute Over Who is At-Fault

Sometimes, there’s a dispute over who is at-fault for a collision. This can cause an insurance claim to drag out for weeks or months. An auto accident lawyer can analyze the claim, speak with law enforcement officials, and determine who was at-fault for the accident. Once fault is determined, the at-fault driver (or the driver’s insurance company) will be responsible for paying any appropriate damages.

There Are Extensive Damages or Injuries

If your car accident caused extensive damages or injuries, then you may wish to hire a car accident attorney. A car accident attorney will communicate with the car insurance company on your behalf. The attorney might negotiate with the insurance company to ensure your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses are covered. You can focus on recovery while the attorney deals with your claim.

Tactics Used by Insurance Companies to Delay or Reduce Your Claim

Some car insurance companies work hard to process your claim efficiently and fairly. Other insurance companies deliberately delay your claim in the hopes of reducing compensation. Some companies offer a fast settlement in the hopes that you’ll accept it. By accepting the offer, you’re signing away your rights to sue the company. You get cash today – but you’re avoiding a larger payday in the future. The insurance company limits its liability.

Is your car insurance company delaying your claim or dragging its feet? Here are some of the tactics used by some insurance companies:

  • The insurance company attempts to offer a quick settlement. They might send someone to your home (or even the hospital) after an accident with an offer. That offer might seem impressive, but the insurance company is trying to limit its liability and avoid long-term medical expenses.
  • The insurance company requests permission for your medical records and then uses something in your medical records to justify denying or reducing your claim. If you use a specific type of medication, for example, and one side-effect of that medication is drowsiness, then the insurance company might argue that you were impaired at the time of the accident. Or, the insurance company might find a pre-existing condition that negates your claim.
  • The insurance company will “scare you” into accepting a settlement. They might claim you need to respond by a specific date to secure compensation, for example. These deadlines are typically arbitrary.
  • The insurance company acts overly friendly and concerned. They insist you don’t need a lawyer.

Final Word

Ultimately, there are hundreds of tactics a car insurance company may use to deny or reduce your claim. If you feel like your insurance company is dragging its feet with your claim or taking too long, then you might have a legitimate grievance. Talk to your insurance company to inquire about the reason for the delay. Then, if you’re unsatisfied with the answer, consider sitting down to speak with a lawyer.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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