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Car Insurance Coverage Defenses

Did Your Car Insurance Company Deny Coverage?

Are you being accused of lying on your car insurance application?

Getting into a car accident is terrifying, even if you walk away with nothing more than a scratch. You’d like to think that any damages caused as a result of the accident will be covered by your insurance company.

But, if there’s one thing insurance companies don’t like, it’s paying out big claims. After you submit your claim if they believe you’ve misrepresented any of the facts of your policy application, getting them to cover the cost of the accident may not be as easy as you think.

What if Your Insurance Company Accuses You of Lying on Your Car Insurance Application?

If your insurance company believes you misrepresented any of the information on your car insurance application, they can try to deny your claim after an accident.

So, what constitutes misrepresentation? Florida law refers to misrepresentation as an ‘omission, concealment of fact, or incorrect statement.’

Under the law, there are 7 types of misrepresentations the insurance company can try to prove occurred:

  1. The condition of your vehicle
  2. Where you keep your vehicle when it’s not being used
  3. Whether other drivers are driving the vehicle
  4. If your child who’s at college in another state is the primary driver
  5. If a child in the household is driving the vehicle
  6. Your marital status
  7. Whether you or the vehicle were in a car accident

Misrepresenting any one of these seven facts on your application, however, does not automatically mean you won’t receive the coverage you’re owed by your insurance company. Your insurer also has to prove that the misrepresentations were:

  • Fraudulent
  • Material to the risk assumed by them
  • That they, in good faith, would not have issued the policy or would have done so on different terms had they known the true facts

If knowing any of the true facts would have led them to issue you a different policy with a higher premium – if the insurance company lost money – expect them to pursue a coverage defense.

What if You Misrepresented Information but The Mistake Was Accidental?

Sadly, if you accidentally misrepresented information on your car insurance application, you can still be on the hook for any costs your insurance company doesn’t agree to pay.

If an insurance company believes a misrepresentation occurred and can prove to a Florida judge that they would have otherwise changed your policy or not issued you a policy at all, they can claim a coverage defense – even if the misrepresentation was unintentional.

Insurance Companies Can’t Go Looking for a Misrepresentation of Facts as a Way to Get Out of Paying Claims

Under Florida law, insurance companies can’t go around looking for coverage defenses as a means of avoiding paying claims. Only if the insurance company believes they have actual or constructive knowledge that you lied on your insurance application can they go and try to prove that you were at fault.

And that’s not the only rule car insurance companies have to follow. If the insurer finds what’s believed to be a misrepresentation, they have to act immediately and void the coverage. This includes not only disclaiming any future coverage but also returning the premiums they received from you from the time they first noticed the misrepresentation.

If your insurance company finds a reason to believe you lied on your application but keeps it quiet – meaning they continue to charge you your premium and let you go on believing that you’re covered – any coverage defense they try to prove will not be awarded. The same goes for any instance where they believe a misrepresentation took place but renew your coverage under the same terms anyway.

With all of this said, just because the insurance company believes they have the information they need to avoid coverage and payment, it doesn’t mean you have to accept fault.

You can fight back and attempt to disprove the insurance company’s claims that you lied on your car insurance application.

What Should You Do if Your Car Insurance Denies Coverage?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and your insurance company denies your claim, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can help prove to the insurance company and the court that you submitted your insurance application with true facts and help you get the coverage and payment you deserve.

If you’ve been in a car accident and haven’t yet filed a claim, a good piece of advice is to speak with a personal injury lawyer before you file a claim or talk with a medical professional (what you tell the doctor can be shared with the defense), to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims. This includes the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover.

Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in-person) to answer your questions.

 

Do You Have a Question?

Please fill out the “Talk With An Attorney” form above to ask a question or you can call Alan Sackrin at 954-458-8655.  He promises to get back to you promptly.  Ask now.