Not Enough Car Insurance.

Updated on November 16, 2012
E.S. asks from Garland, TX
12 answers

I was in a wreck a couple weeks ago. There were 5 cars involed other then mine. The wreck was my fault. I do have full coverage insuance for my truck. I recieved a letter in the mail yesterday from my insuance company telling that there is a injury calm made that will excede my limits of my policy, that I should hire a lawyer, which there is no way I can afford right now. My truck was totaled in the wreck as well. But no one was hurt at sceen of the wreck thank GOD! Any advise on what I should do, or anyone been threw the same thing?

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A.P.

answers from Dallas on

I work for an auto insurance company in a claims department. First rule (and this is for everyone), there is no such thing as "full coverage." Every coverage (in Texas) except Bodily Injury/Property Damage (BI/PD) is optional, so the definition of "full coverage" changes from person to person.

Since you are at fault for the accident, anyone injured or inconvenienced by the accident can file a BI claim against your policy. The only limits that matter there is your BI/PD coverage. All of those claims have to be processed using those limits. Based off of the info they currently have, your insurance company is telling you that your limits are not enough. Well, read carefully, because they may be telling you that it MAY not be enough. Regardless of what happened at the scene, people do have a right to come back and pursue a claim. Many claims are processed where people don't feel the effects until days after. And even if they are not hurt, they can get a small settlement just for lost time, wages, or inconvenience. Again, read the letter closely. The insurance company may also just be letting you know that someone is represented by an attorney so the likelihood of a lawsuit has increased and what you should do if you have been served. The exact language is crucial here, so read carefully and call the adjuster if you have questions. You should be aware that your Property Damage limit is separate, and with five cars involved, it is almost a guarantee that you do not have enough limits (depending on the age of the vehicles and amount of damage, the minimum 25k would not be sufficient). Bodily Injury is a separate issue.

Since there is a high percentage of individuals in Texas that break the law and drive without insurance, many people have Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage. Most people will use this coverage under their own policy before coming after the at-fault driver personally. However, they can still come after you if your limits aren't adequate, for injury and/or property damage.

Again, confirm if these claims WILL exceed or MAY exceed your limits, and go from there. I suspect that it is the standard letter for the BI, but not for the PD. I wouldn't actually go hire an attorney until you have been served, but I would go talk to one or have some contacts now, just in case.

**EDIT**
The insurance company is only required to represent you if they are denying the claim or if they can't come to an agreement on the settlement amount. Essentially, if it is the insurance company who is standing firm or did something wrong, they are required to hire counsel for you. If all the claims exceed your limits and the insurance company processed the claim in good faith, they CAN come after you, including filing a lawsuit. The insurance company is not required to represent you at that point. Also, if person does use their UIM, that insurance company can come after you (it's call subrogation). They will look up your assets first and if they think they can't get much out of you, they won't pursue. But they will try.

HTH! Let me know if you have any more questions.

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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

I agree with Annie and Dijea. There is no such thing as full coverage. There is always a monetary limit, even if you have bought all the coverages offered, and there are also exclusions in every policy (things it doesn't cover). The insurance company is saying that now the injured person wants more money than the limits on your policy. That doesn't mean they will get that much, even if they sue. Demands usually start high. But it is important to remember that under liability insurance your insurance company must provide you with a lawyer if you are sued for something that would be covered under the policy, even if the limits may not be enough to cover the whole judgment that could result, and that lawyer has to defend the whole claim. You should consult your own lawyer at some point because your interests are somewhat different from the insurance company's, but you won't go without a lawyer to defend your case if you are sued, unless there are coverage problems for some reason other than limits (they don't seem to be saying that). If the insurance company can settle the claim within your policy limits, and they think you were at fault, they will probably settle it, and in that situation there wouldn't be any extra for you to pay. When the injured person finds out what your policy limit is, and that you don't have any money to pay more than that on your own, chances are they will take what they can get from your policy and file an underinsured motorist claim with their own insurance company, especially since there may be other people injured in the accident who want a share of your policy limits.

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D.C.

answers from Dallas on

Your insurance should handle the lawyer period. Not you. That's what you paid them for in the first place. Call the state insurance regulatory board if they don't perform, but give them the chance to do the right thing.

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J.B.

answers from Tyler on

When we were living in Michigan, a no-fault ins. state, my daughters were involved in an accident with another teen driver. His passengers were his sister and her friend. Both had injuries. The accident was his fault--illegal left turn. My daughters were 16 and 14 at the time. Fast forward 5 years. We had moved to another state. Allstate notified us that we were being sued by the girl--the driver's sister--for her injuries. Apparently Mich. has a law that says minors may sue up to their 18th birthday. Well, I told Allstate they could pay them whatever they wanted, but they wouldn't get one red cent out of us! All they wanted was some money for college. We personally found out both girls has recovered from their injuries before we moved away. We never hired an attorney and we never heard another word.

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K.T.

answers from Dallas on

My husband works for an insurance company and he says that they will only will pay up to the limit. Contact your insurance company to discuss other options. That's about all you can do.

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds to me like someone involved is a little sue happy and seeing the potential for $$$$, especially if no one was hurt at the scene.

It is a shame so many people are like this.

We are in business and a customer who owed us a fairly large sum went bankrupt leaving us with q loss. When we inquired to our attorney aobut anything we could do to be paid his response was...

"You can't get blood out of a turnip"

If you are not financially able or insured for things like this.....they can't get $$ you don't have.

Whomever filed the claim is just trying to see what they can get. Be strong.

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T.C.

answers from Dallas on

I would double check to see what kind of coverage you have. It sounds to me as if you don't have full coverage. I had an accident as well and the other driver claimed injury after the fact. My insurance told me it would be covered and that the other driver would have to have doctor's proof that the injury was caused from the accident. Since there was no ambulance and both myself, my son, and the other driver all claimed we were fine, my insurance said it would be difficult for the other driver to prove her case. I still don't know the results in my case but I know my insurance covers injuries sustained if they are indeed in the mix.

If you do indeed need a lawyer,there are some lawyers out there that will work with you on a sliding scale bases. A lot of times your work place has access to these lawyers through your insurance. YOu can get a free session, etc.

I hope everything works out for you. I know how frustrating this must be. Take care and God Bless.

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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

I had a wreck recently and got the same type letter from Allstate. Depending on your coverage, mine is 25,000 per person up to so much per accident. If no one was injured and transported by ambulance to the hospital, it will be hard for them to make a claim later that would be justified in court. And if sued it is possible that your insurance company may be sued as well. With my accident my company will pick up the first 25,000 then her insurance will cover the rest mostly physical therapy for underinsured motorist with her policy. Do you know who is claiming the injury and if they gave a statement at the scene of the accident. If so get copies of the accident report. That may help if you are sued. If you have questions you can email me at [email protected]____.com. I hope things are worked out quickly and in your favor.
J.

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K.W.

answers from Dallas on

Hi E. -- bottom line is that your insurance company's legal team shld represent you -- many times you'll be named in the suit, but it's the insurance company that is ultimiately being sued and will have to pay. I was sued over a year ago for an accident and my insurance company met with me (with their lawyers) and said they would represeent me and the insurance company together. I had the option to hire my own legal representation which I opted not to do. The case settled about a month ago (18mths long) and my insurance company paid the settlement -- not me. I am paying higher premiums b/c of it....hope this will help. Bless you!

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H.P.

answers from Dallas on

Call Gary Pullin at ###-###-####. He is an attorney and works on this stuff all the time. He is very knowledgeable and helpful. Give him a call and he may be able to help you with your initial questions.

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A.L.

answers from Dallas on

I just wanted to let you know this has happened to me. I was in a wreck in Dec. 07, and it is still not settled. I have very high limits to protect myself. Most people unfortunately don't have enough money on their policies for these kind of accidents. I think the minimum you can have and still call it full coverage is 25000/50000/10000. If you think about it, this doesn't cover but one car and if they are seriously hurt you may not have enough to cover it. You need to talk to your claims representative and/or your adjuster. In my case, there was 2 women and 2 small children in the other truck and me and my fiancee' in my car. $495 damage to their truck, $6000 to my car. They walked out of the truck to the ambulance and one of them still had back and neck surgery. My insurance company settled that one claim for $250,000. Now the lawyer for the other car is trying to get $36,000 for a whiplash claim. Fortunately, my claims representative walked me through it and it has been ok. I would definitely check the wording on the letter they sent. because they had to send me one even though the one lady wants $36,000 for her whiplash and I still have another $250,000 available. Please talk to your claims rep. They will be very helpful.

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