Visitor Question

Insurance premium went up after a work-related accident?

Submitted By: Wendy (Seattle, Washington)

My company was not qualified for a loan to purchase a car, so they used my boss’s title to finance a car under his name, and afterwards purchased the insurance on the car using his name as well.

On November 24th, my boss gave me his car key to perform a work related task, which involved driving 7 hours in a row. I had a car accident on the way. Luckily I am fine, but the car was totaled and my boss’s insurance policy replaced the old car with a new one. He received a check with the full amount of the car’s value.

He pocketed $11,000 from the check, after speaking with the financial officer from the company. The finance guy said he should keep the money since his insurance might go up. This was all under the table. After that, my boss cancelled his policy. The new car was purchased under the company’s name.

This month, I went to renew my auto insurance and was told my insurance premium went up twice. I asked my employer to compensate for this and they refused. They said each individual should be liable for their own actions.

I am very upset about this and I really don’t know my rights. I don’t know what to do. Should I sue my employer? Do they have responsibility for paying for this increase in premium? Thank you for any perspective you can give.

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 Wendy,

The actions of your boss and the financial officer, while curious, are not legally relevant to your insurance problems. Unfortunately, insurance companies are permitted to raise rates when they do so on a consistent pattern based on, and in furtherance of company policy.

Insurance companies are not permitted to raise insurance rates for their insured as a punitive measure. From the facts you present, there doesn’t appear to be any proof the insurance company failed to follow its policies and guidelines or that it acted in a conscious effort to be punitive towards you.

Apparently your driving was work related, and the accident occurred during the regular course of your work duties. If you had been injured during the time you were driving, you would likely have had a legitimate workers’ compensation claim. However, unless you sustained injuries, your only recourse is to shop around for another insurance company.

If you believe your insurance company is acting inappropriately, and that they raised your rates as a punitive measure, or the action was taken outside company policy and procedures, you can file a complaint with the State of Washington – Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

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: January 29, 2016

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