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Could COVID-19 Increase Car Crash Claim Denials?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Jun 05, 2020 in Auto Accident

denied insurance claimIn the months since the U.S. was first hit with the coronavirus and businesses were closed down to help prevent the spread of infection, there have been significantly less cars on the roads. However, in spite of emptier highways and local streets, essential workers and others are still driving, which means that there have also been some accidents.

Below, our knowledgeable attorneys at Rizk Law discuss how insurance companies may try to deny your car accident claim amid the pandemic. Learn what you can do to protect yourself – and your finances – if another’s negligence causes you to be injured in a crash.

We offer a free initial consultation for those injured in a collision due to another’s negligence. You can call our office anytime, day or night, to schedule this no-obligation meeting.

Reasons Your Claim May Be Denied

Insurance companies use many tactics to try and devalue or deny a claim. The reason for this approach is simple. Insurance providers are businesses and therefore will make every effort to protect their bottom line. What that means for you is that they will be trying to find reasons to deny your claim or reduce its value.

During the pandemic, some common reasons your insurance claim may be denied include:

Denial Due to Lapsed Payment

Many people have become unemployed as a result of the pandemic. When policyholders are stressed and struggling to make ends meet, it can be easy to accidentally miss a car insurance payment. Unfortunately, if this occurs and your policy lapses, you will not be covered for damages if you either cause, or are otherwise involved in, an accident involving your vehicle. If the other party is liable, however, your damages may still be covered, up to the limits of his or her policy.

Many insurance companies have issued premium credits to policyholders for a limited time. Additionally, most providers are working with their policyholders to help them manage their payments. If you are facing a financial crisis, we encourage you to contact your insurance company to see what options you may have for paying your premiums. Drivers are still responsible for ensuring their vehicles meet state requirements for insurance, and Oregon has fines and other penalties for drivers who ignore this law.

Denial Due to Uninsured/Underinsured At-Fault Party

During COVID-19, it is possible other drivers on the road may have let their insurance policies lapse. In a situation where another party who caused your accident is underinsured or uninsured, your options for recovering damages may be limited. However, if your insurance policy includes uninsured/underinsured protection (UM/UIM), then you can file a claim against that portion of your policy, up to the limits you have purchased.

Oregon requires all drivers to purchase and maintain state-mandated insurance coverage, which includes UM/UIM limits of $25,000 per covered person. However, Rizk Law recommends a periodic review of UIM limits as $25,000 may not provide enough protection, especially in the event of a permanent injury or hospitalization. Policyholders may opt to increase this coverage at any time. Contact your insurance provider to learn more.

Denial for Being on the Road During Stay-at-Home Restrictions

Insurance companies may completely deny a claim on the basis that you were unnecessarily on the road during shelter-at-home orders. This denial only applies if you live in an area where a stay-at-home order was issued, and you are not an essential worker. However, even if you do not provide essential services, court authorities are not likely to enforce this type of denial.

Steps You Can Take to Help Prevent the Possibility of a Claim Denial

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the possibility of having your claim denied before it even begins.

  • Stay on top of your policy payments to make sure you do not risk losing your coverage. If you find yourself in financial difficulty due to the pandemic, contact your insurer immediately to see whether they may be willing to make payment arrangements.
  • Consider purchasing UM/UIM insurance to protect you and your financial assets should you be involved in an underinsured car crash. While Oregon’s minimum coverage provides up to $25,000, we recommend that you consider a higher amount of coverage for better protection.
  • Seek legal help from an experienced attorney as soon as possible if your claim is denied.

Contact One of Our Attorneys for Legal Help

At Rizk Law, we are committed to providing legal assistance to our community while promoting health and safety for the benefit of all residents.

If you are injured due to another’s negligence and would like to find out if you may have legal grounds for recovering compensation for your damages, you can take advantage of our free, no-obligation claim review.

In your free consultation with one of our Portland car accident attorneys, we welcome the opportunity to review the circumstances that led to your accident and discuss your potential legal options. There is no need for a face-to-face meeting and no upfront costs to pay if you retain our services. We only get paid if you do.

Oregon requires all drivers to purchase and maintain state-mandated insurance coverage, which includes UM/UIM limits of $25,000 per covered person. However, Rizk Law recommends a periodic review of UIM limits as $25,000 may not provide enough protection, especially in the event of a permanent injury or hospitalization. Policyholders may opt to increase this coverage at any time.  Contact your insurance provider to learn more.

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