My Car Insurance Claim is Closed: What to Do Now

January 27, 2012

Someday you may find yourself in the situation where you are asking yourself: “my car insurance claim is closed, what should I do now?” If you do have a problem with a claim that arises after the insurance company has settled the claim, you will need to make sure that you follow some basic guidelines for reopening the car insurance claim so that the insurer will consider paying more money on the claim.

Supplemental Car Insurance Claims

A supplemental car insurance claim is simply an additional claim that is filed with an insurance company regarding an accident or event that caused damage to the insured’s vehicle or injuries to am involved party where the insurance company has settled the claim and paid it already.

Supplemental claims are not out of the ordinary and car insurance companies receive them every day. Supplemental claims usually involve repairs of vehicles where the original estimate or quote did not foresee damage or faulty parts that were not easily be viewed or expected at the time the original quote or estimate was issued. Supplemental claims may also be made for medical costs or doctors bills that have been incurred by someone injured in an accident. If the supplemental claims are reasonable and made in a timely fashion, most insurance companies will simply pay the supplemental claims rather than disputing them. However, there are exceptions.

Reopening a Claim – Time is of the Essence

If you need to file a supplemental car insurance claim, or reopen a claim, you need to do it as quickly as possible. Many car insurance companies have time limits for how long a claim will remain open or how long you have to file a supplemental claim. Time limit periods vary widely from company to company; however, most car insurance companies will require that you file supplemental claims within 90 days to one year from the date of loss or the date of the car accident.

There are a few states that don't allow car insurance companies to place time limits on supplemental claims and consider car insurance claims to actually never be closed. In order to find out if you live in one of these states, you should contact your state's commissioner of insurance or Department of Insurance. You can search for these government organizations using your favorite search engine. In fact, if you have any questions at all about a supplemental insurance claim, the Commissioner of Insurance or Department of Insurance is an excellent place to submit your questions.

Consider Arbitration

If you feel you have a valid supplemental claim or reason for reopening your insurance claim, and the insurance company refuses to entertain a request or pay out on your claim, you may be able to request arbitration. You'll need to check the terms of your policy contract; however, many insurance companies do provide for arbitration as a medium for settling disputes. Depending upon the terms and conditions of your policy contract, you may be able to request binding or nonbinding arbitration. You should review your policy contract very careful to determine your rights in the event of a dispute.

Hire an Attorney

If you've tried everything else, and the insurance company still won't allow you to reopen your claim or submit a supplemental claim, you may need to consult with a qualified attorney. In fact, if when you contact your insurance company they don't take your initial request very seriously, or simply tell you no, you might want to head straight to an attorney’s office and find out what your options are.