Filing a Complaint Against an Auto Insurance Company

January 27, 2012

There may come a time when you become very dissatisfied with your auto insurance company; for example, you may feel that you have been treated unfairly or perhaps unjustly denied payment of a claim or your policy was canceled without sufficient notice or good reason. You should always attempt to contact the insurance company on your own and try to reach an amicable settlement with them.

However, if you're not able to reach a satisfactory resolution with your car insurance company, you may be able to file a complaint against the insurer with your state insurance commissioner or your state's department of insurance. Therefore, here is an easy to reference guide on how to go about filing a complaint against your auto insurance company:

What You Will Need

  • An Internet connection
  • All car insurance related documentation and correspondence

Step 1 - Gather Your Documentation

Retrieve all of your insurance documents that are related to the car insurance problem at hand. Make sure to have copies of your account information and any bills that may be in your possession. Also make sure to have access to any correspondence to or from the car insurance company. This should include e-mails, notes that you took during any phone conversations with the insurance company and any other type of correspondence you may have. Make sure that your documentation is as complete as possible, because this will be the information that is used as the basis for filing a complaint.

Step 2 - Contact Your State's Department of Insurance

Every state in the United States has a Department of Insurance or Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. While the name may vary, the function remains the same. These are the government organizations entrusted with regulating and overseeing insurance companies in your state. You can visit the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and click on "states and jurisdictions" to view a map of the United States with a link to each state's department of insurance. In addition to the mainland United States, the map also includes links for Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. Once you have located your state on the map, simply click the link to the go to the Department of Insurance website for your state.

Step 3 -- Check if You Can File Your Complaint Online

Many states now let you to file grievances or complaints against insurance companies over the Internet. However, a few states still require you to submit complaints via the US mail. Still, other sites allow you to e-mail a complaint and then later forward a hard copy of the grievance or complaint. The NAIC website offers you information about all 50 states and how to file complaints with the appropriate agency in that state. But, you should also visit the webpage of the state's Department of Insurance to make sure about requirements for filing complaints.

Step 4 -- Determine Your Complaint Validity

You need to make sure that your complaint falls within the scope of issues for which you can complain about your insurance company. For example, some states allow you to complain about an insurance company for things such as: coverage issues, claim disputes, sales misrepresentations, premium problems, policy cancellations and refunds. However, some states may allow you to file complaints related to different types of car insurance issues.

Step 5 -- Follow the Directions

While at the website of your state's Department of Insurance make sure to read all of the instructions very carefully, before continuing with your complaint filing. You will need to make sure that you follow the instructions precisely so that your complaint can be handled in an efficient and timely manner.

You should be aware that many complaints may go unprocessed, because of a lack of sufficient documentation and evidence. Therefore, you should always be as thorough as possible when sending information to your state's Department of Insurance. With the proper information, the state's Department of Insurance might be able to intervene on your behalf and force your insurance company to address your needs or concerns.