Visitor Question

Insurance refusing to pay for a hit and run accident?

Submitted By: Maria (Torrance, CA)

My son was cut off by a truck while driving in the number one lane. He had no choice but to drive off the road and sustained damage to his car as a result. The other driver took off and was chased down by a witness who took the license plate and make of car and came back.

A police report was made and the incident was listed as a hit and run even though there was no collision; all agreed my son could not have done anything else.

My insurance claims that, because there was no collision, they will not pay for the damage or go after the other driver. This is California and we DO have uninsured driver insurance and hit and run on this car. They state we will have to go after the driver ourselves.

I believe the insurance company is in the wrong – we also have an umbrella policy with this company. Do you have any information or suggestion which may help (other then get another insurance, which we most likely will)? How can we get the insurance company to pay? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Maria,

If your son carried property damage insurance, there is no legitimate reason your son’s insurance company should not pay for the damage to his car.

Unfortunately, in the State of California as well as in other states, uninsured and underinsured coverage only takes effect when the at-fault driver in a car accident is underinsured or uninsured.

An umbrella policy is normally part of a driver’s liability and property damage insurance coverage. However, the amount of coverage in an umbrella policy is much higher than the amounts set out in a standard liability or property damage policy.

In most cases, umbrella policies become effective when a lawsuit is filed seeking compensation for injuries and/or property damage, and the insured’s standard policy isn’t sufficient to cover the amounts demanded in the lawsuit.

An umbrella policy has three primary advantages.

– It provides coverage of $1 million or more

– It provides additional coverage for attorneys fees

– It provides liability coverage for lawsuits not covered by your car or home insurance

In your case the umbrella policy doesn’t apply.

To get clarification and to file a complaint against your insurance company, if you feel it is warranted, you can contact California’s Insurance board.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: April 4, 2016

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