It’s a funny thing about insurance companies. With one hand, they delay paying policyholder claims, while the other takes more of your money. Could you imagine your auto insurance company telling you that you’re not covered on the policy after you’ve been paying them premiums for years? Neither could our client – but that’s exactly what happened when she got into her accident.
No-Fault and Apparently No Coverage
In states with no-fault laws, like the one our client was driving in, your own insurance company is supposed to pay for your medical bills in the case of an accident. Insurance policies sold in these states even have a special section of coverage for this purpose, known as personal injury protection, or PIP. So, when our client was hurt in an auto collision, she went to her insurance company to access the medical benefits she had been paying for all these years. She was understandably taken aback when the adjuster denied her claim. After all, they’d had no problem taking her money.
The reason for the denial? Her name wasn’t on the title of the car.
Titles and Technicalities
There’s so much wrong with this excuse that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, though the plaintiff’s name wasn’t on the title of the car, her ownership of it was clear. The car had originally belonged to her ex-husband, and was transferred to her during the divorce. There was no question as to whether she actually owned the vehicle or not. The insurance company simply wanted to weasel out of paying on a technicality.
And perhaps worse is that this woman had purchased insurance from the same company for years. She had loyally made literally dozens of payments. All this time, the insurance company was perfectly fine with accepting her premiums even though her name wasn’t on the title. It was only after her accident – after they stopped being on the receiving end of the cash and were suddenly expected to pay out the benefits the policyholder had purchased – that they suddenly had any interest at all in the name on the title.
Sorry, That Excuse Is Invalid
Obviously, this outrageous excuse didn’t fly with us. This woman was clearly a policyholder regardless of what name was on the car title, and as such she was entitled to medical benefits, period. We made sure she got them.
One more thing: when the insurance carrier claimed that our client wasn’t covered because her name wasn’t on the title, we naturally asked them if they intended to refund her the years of insurance premium payments she had made to them. You guessed it – that’s one question the insurance company seemed unable to answer.