Insurance companies are often hesitant to disclose policy limits during the claims process. That way, they keep the upper hand in settlement negotiations and can offer you less than the total policy amount regardless of the value of your claim.
However, by law, the insurance company must disclose this information to you. It just might take some pressure from your attorney to get them to tell you.
Why You Need to Know Insurance Policy Limits
All auto insurance policies have limits, which put maximums on how much the insurance company pays out in case of a covered accident. This can be money to cover the driver who is insured or other motorists who the insured driver hits.
Indiana insurance policies have a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of bodily injury coverage. Policies must also have a minimum of property damage coverage of $25,000 per accident.
However, many drivers choose to have better coverage than that to protect their liability in case of a severe accident or collision with more expensive vehicles. That means that the driver might choose to increase bodily injury coverage to $50,000 per person and property damage coverage to $100,000 per accident. The difference can be enormous if you’ve suffered serious injuries or a totaled vehicle.
Knowing these limits helps you make decisions, such as:
- Whether to accept settlement offers from the insurance company or keep negotiating. Your attorney can help you determine a fair amount for your settlement and guide you in knowing what a fair offer looks like.
- Minimum insurance coverage might be inadequate to cover your medical needs. You’d be surprised how fast $25,000 of medical bills can add up. In that case, you might choose to use your health insurance to cover medical bills or consider using your auto insurance policy if you have higher limits.
- You might talk to your doctor about the most conservative treatment methods for your injuries to limit the total cost of your medical bills. This can help keep the bills within the policy limits and can be especially helpful for those without medical insurance. However, be careful when considering this. You don’t want your car accident injuries to follow you for the rest of your life. The goal is to make a complete recovery.
What to Do if the Insurance Company Refuses to Tell You Policy Limits
Because most insurance companies are unwilling to divulge this information freely, you might need to take additional actions. Here’s what you can do.
- Ask the driver who hit you. You should have that driver’s contact information. In case you forgot to ask at the scene of the accident, the police report should also have it. Drivers are often more willing to share this information than the insurance company.
- Send a demand letter. You can demand this information from the insurance company formally with a letter. Generally, you do this with your car accident attorney who knows how to draft these letters appropriately and with some motivators for the insurance company.
- Go through your insurance company. Your insurance company might be more amiable in the process than the other driver’s insurance provider. You might be able to get an adjuster from your company to talk to the other company and get data on the policy limits.
- Sue the at-fault driver. Once you file a formal lawsuit against the at-fault driver, your attorney can force the insurance company to disclose the policy limits through court proceedings.
Working with an attorney is the best way to ensure that the insurance company is being fair with you. Ideally, you should contact an attorney shortly after your accident so that they can protect your rights from the start.
This year, Stewart & Stewart proudly celebrates our 40th anniversary of treating clients like family. Contact Stewart & Stewart for a free consultation and case review to begin getting important information from the insurance company to resolve your claim.