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Vancouver, Washington

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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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Auto accidents and medical bills

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Many consumers have a great fear of using their own auto insurance if unfortunate enough to be injured in an accident. Most people believe any use of their insurance will result in the company dropping them from coverage or raising their rates. They often tell medical providers to bill the insurance company of the other driver whose actions caused the collision. The comment I often hear is “Why should my insurance pay, it was his fault”. Unfortunately, this exercise only results in the medical providers getting upset with the patient when the other insurance company ignores the bills. It’s not that I’ve never seen another driver’s insurance make an advance payment on a claim before, but it’s about as rare as an NBA championship in Portland . They really have no obligation to pay a dime until a court orders their insured to do so. Then their contractual obligation to protect and cover their customer kicks in. True, they will often want to make an offer to settle at some point to avoid the extra court costs of letting it go to a lawsuit. But the moral of the story is, don’t expect the other driver’s carrier to pay anything related to your injury claim until the case is settled. Use you own auto insurance until then. The medical coverage on your own policy is created and purchased just for this occasion. And most states have laws prohibiting an insurance company from dropping your coverage, raising your rates or failing to renew when the next renewal period comes around if the accident was clearly the fault of the other driver.