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 company or feels they have been treated unfairly, contact Gruenloh Law at (843) 577-0027 and set up your free consultation.