Did you know your auto insurance company has no duty to provide coverage under your policy, after an accident, unless you have complied fully with the duties in your policy?
Most people don't know this. Why? It's simple, most people don't read their policy.
So, if you don't want to break out your policy to read Part E - Duties after an Accident or Loss then read this post and you'll know what to do to protect your rights under your insurance contract.
Every auto insurance policy has a Part E - Duties after an Accident or Loss section. Don't believe me? Open your policy, go to the Table of Contents and look for it. If you don't want to read your policy then trust me, it's there, because I've read the policy.
This section starts with a ***WARNING*** that reads like this.
"We have no duty to provide coverage under this policy unless there has been full compliance with the following duties:"
There it is. You've been duly warned. If you don't do your part the insurance company won't do theirs. It's that simple.
So, what do you have to do after an accident or loss?
- Notify the insurance company promptly of how, when and where the accident happened. Also, you must include who (names and addresses of any one injured and witnesses to the accident/loss.
- If you are seeking coverage you must:
• Cooperate in the investigation, settlement, or defense of any claim or suit.
• Promptly send copies of any notices or legal papers received in connection with the accident.
• Submit, (as often as reasonably required) to: physical examinations by physicians they select; to examination under oath.
• Authorization to medical records and other pertinent records to the accident or loss.
• Submit a proof of loss, under oath, when required.
- If you are seeking Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage you must:
• Report the accident to police or other civil authority within 24 hours or as soon as practicable if a hit-and-run driver is involved.
• Promptly send copies of legal papers if a suit is brought.
- If you are seeking coverage for Damage to your Auto you must:
• Take reasonable steps after a loss to protect your covered auto or non-owned auto and its equipment from further loss.
• Promptly notify the police if your vehicle is stolen.
• Permit to an inspection and appraisal of the damaged property before its repair or disposal.
There it is. All summed up nice and tight. Please be sure to read your policy. I've summarized this section of your policy in this post but you'll want to read your policy for the exact wording of your duties after an accident or loss.
Oh, and if the agent who sold you your policy doesn't know what your duties are after an accident or loss or where to find it in the policy then you need a new insurance professional.
To help you gather this information at the time of an accident I recommend you have this app on your smart phone (IPhone and Android). WreckCheck. I've written about this app previously which is titled, Before You're in a Wreck, Get WreckCheck!
Author: Richard Morris
Richard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families with all their insurance needs for over 23 years. Visit his website at http://www.southwestpremierinsuranceagency.com to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter.