Do Insurance Companies have to tell you how much coverage is available for your claim?

April 9, 2019

You’ve been in a car accident and your medical bills are already piling up.  One question that many people who try to handle their own claims forget to ask is “How much insurance coverage is available?” This is an extremely important question as it can affect the value of your case, the manner in which the insurance company handles your claim and whether other coverage such as underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is triggered. Knowing the amount of coverage available is essential to any negotiation. The insurance companies have this information at their disposal and you can bet that it will greatly affect the way that they negotiate. Insurance companies handle claims in which they have minimum coverage ($25,000.00) very differently from claims where there is $100,000.00 or more in coverage. The majority of clients that we speak with who have tried to negotiate their claim without a lawyers assistance don’t have this information and don’t know how to obtain it.   Insurance companies will not give you this information voluntarily. However, S.C. Code §38-77-250 requires an insurance company to provide either the declarations page or a sworn statement providing the limits of coverage. To obtain this information, you must send a written request satisfying the requirements of S.C. Code §38-77-250. The request must be under oath, setting forth the specific nature of the claim asserted, must state that the requestor has the authority to make such a request and must also enclose a copy of the incident report regarding the claim. Here’s an example: “Client was injured in an automobile accident with your insured on January 1, 2019. Pursuant to South Carolina Code § 38-77-250(A), I am hereby requesting a copy of your insured’s declaration page or a statement under oath of a corporate officer or the insured’s claims manager stating with regard to each known policy of non-fleet private passenger insurance issued by you, the name of the insurer, the name of each insured and the limits of coverage. I am duly authorized as the claimant’s attorney to make this request and have attached a copy of the pertinent incident report. “ This request MUST be sent via certified mail or statutory overnight delivery. Once received, the insurance company will have 30 days to provide the coverage. Often the response provided by the insurance company is subject to interpretation or incomplete. It is important to have a lawyer who has experience handling insurance claims review this information before entering into any negotiation. Knowing all the information is key to resolving your claim for the most money possible. Negotiating your injury claim without being fully advised is a gamble that you should never take. If you have been injured in an accident, contact the attorneys of the Gruenloh Law Firm for a free evaluation and learn how much insurance coverage is available in your case.

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I Paid My Car Insurance Premium So I’m Insured Right?

April 4, 2019

It is a well-known fact that in order to drive a car, the law requires you to have car insurance. This is just one example of a situation where a person may be required to have insurance by law. Because this insurance is required, it is generally assumed that a person will continue to be insured as long as they continue making payments. This, however, isn’t always the case. Many people are unaware that the insurance company can make the decision to no longer insure you whenever they want, which can be surprising and upsetting, and can lead to some legal issues. At minimum, the person must deal with the inconvenience of finding new insurance coverage. At worst, a serious incident can occur where a person may have an incident, such as a car accident, and the insurance company will deny coverage. Gruenloh Law recently was able to help a client who faced a similar situation. Our client was in a car accident and when she made a claim on her insurance, was shocked to discover that the insurance company had attempted to stop insuring her about a month prior. After trying to unsuccessfully to deal with the insurance company and figure out exactly why her coverage was being denied, she contacted us for help. South Carolina law requires that in order to not renew an insurance policy, the insurance company must give the person 30 days notice. See Bannister v. Ohio Cas. Ins. Co., 314 S.C. 388, 389, 444 S.E.2d 528, 529 (Ct. App. 1994). Additionally, in order for that notice to be considered adequate, the insured must actually receive the notice and be aware of the fact that their policy will not be renewed. See Edens v. S. Carolina Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., 288 S.C. 435, 343 S.E.2d 49 (Ct. App. 1986). Upon receiving notice that your insurance is not being renewed, a person has 15 days to request in writing that the issue be reviewed. S.C. Code Ann. § 38-77-120. Through our investigations, we were able to determine that the insurance company sent a letter to our client informing her that they would not renew her insurance policy. The letter the insurance company sent, however, was sent to the wrong address. Due to a typographical error, the insurance company entered her mailing address incorrectly and she never actually received the letter. After numerous conversations with the company informing them of their error and lack of compliance with the law, the insurance company still refused to extend coverage to our client. Because our client contacted us immediately, our attorneys were able to contest the denial of coverage. Our attorneys lodged a formal complaint with the South Carolina Insurance Commissioner on behalf of our client, and shortly thereafter the insurance company reviewed the situation and extended coverage to our client. After coverage was granted, our client was able to successfully make a claim and get the money that she deserved. In order to protect your rights, it is important to contact an attorney immediately. If you or anyone you know has been improperly denied coverage by their insurance […]

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