10222017Headline:

Vancouver, Washington

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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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Rough tactics in uninsured motorist coverage

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Many of us carry uninsured motorist coverage on our auto policy.  Always a good idea, this coverage is the only safeguard you have if hit by an uninsured driver.  With so many uninsured drivers on the road, lawyers who represent injured consumers almost universally recommend purchasing this extra coverage.  If you purchase this extra coverage and are hit by an uninsured driver, your insurance company is obligated to do several things.  First, they have a duty to investigate the accident and your injuries.  Next, they have a duty as professionals to do a good faith evaluation of what the claim is worth.  Many consumers have no idea how to evaluate an injury claim.  They have to rely on their insurance company as professionals in the business to perform a fair evaluation and advise them of the results.  This is essentially your insurance company telling you what they feel you are owed in benefits under the policy.  When an insurance company comes to a decision as to what they feel the claim is worth, they have a duty to advise you of the amount and pay it in a prompt manner.  This is what you pay your insurance company for.  Well what if you have an honest disagreement with your insurance company over value?  Maybe you’ve done your own research and came up with a different number.  Maybe you consulted an attorney who advised you the figure should be higher.  What’s supposed to happen at this point is for your company to pay what they admit they owe.  They then should provide you some sort of mechanism to appeal their decision if you want to try for more.  Every insurance policy contains a provision as to your rights of appeal.  But the bottom line is they should pay what they admit is due under the policy.   Unfortunately, many companies manipulate the system with hardball tactics.  They tell you what they feel the claim is worth, but refuse to pay unless you agree waive your right to try for more.   This puts many consumers in a dilemma.  If you have been injured in an accident and the other driver is uninsured, you often find yourself behind the eight ball financially.  You may find yourself with unpaid medical bills or lost time from work.  Maybe you put some of the unexpected bills on a credit card with high interest rates.  You find you really can’t afford to go much further unless you get some money coming in.  Your insurance company knows this.   They know you are under pressure and can’t afford to wait them out.  Because of this, many consumers end up agreeing to waive their rights and just accept the insurance company’s figure.  If your company treats you this way, consult an attorney.  You may have other options.  And when the case is over, give your business to another company.