Q: I had full coverage insurance with United Equitable and they denied my claim on a financed vehicle. Is that legal?
I was driving to work when a car from the left lane swerved into my lane ended up bumping my front driver's side bumper and, making me swerve out of the way and having me lose control. My car hit the right side rail on the highway and then spun around, crashing into the median that separates the inbound and outbound roads and then flipped to the oncoming traffic. The car that bumped me took off and was never caught, and it was declared a hit and run. I filed a claim with my insurance company, and after two months of waiting and collecting fees at the facility where they towed my car, they denied my claim. My insurance company told me based on the EDR or black box in my car; it didn't show that any car hit my car, and based on that, my claim was denied. When it comes to the EDR system in the car, the only time it activates is when the airbags deploy. That being said, the vehicle that bumped me didn't hit me hard enough that the airbags deployed so that wouldn't show on the EDR system.
A: United Equitable's denial is technically legal, but that does not make it right. Unfortunately, United Equitable is one of several insurance companies in Illinois that come up with a myriad of reasons to deny coverage for their own policyholders. Those reasons are oftentimes very questionable and can include improper reliance on EDR data, accident reconstruction arguments that an insurance claims adjuster does not have the proper expertise/training to make, questioning of whether an accident caused a person's injuries despite insurance claims adjusters not having medical degrees, and claiming the medical bills an injured person incurred are too high. Push back hard on United Equitable and hopefully they will change their decision.
On your facts, the claim cannot be "denied." The insurance company can deny that it was a hit and run if there is no physical evidence of another car hitting yours (e.g. a different color paint on your fender or eyewitnesses). That does not mean that your insurance company can deny the claim, altogether, provided that you have full coverage. The difference is that your collision deductible would apply if it is not a hit-and-run and you will be determined as" at fault" for the accident which could cause your insurance to be canceled or your premiums to increase. That notwithstanding, under no circumstances with the insurance company be able to deny your claim provided that you had full coverage.
If you are saying that the insurance company has denied your claim because you do not have evidence that you came in contact with another car, right to the Illinois Department of Insurance. Send them a copy of your policy that shows you have collision coverage and send them a copy of the letter from your insurance company that denies the claim. Assert that the claim is being denied in bad faith and request their intervention. There are a number of substandard carriers who deny claims for spurious reasons and much of the time, there is little that you can do. This is an exception because on your facts, they have clear liability and the Illinois Department of Insurance will tell them to pay.
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