What If Your Car Accident Claim Exceeds Insurance Policy Limits?

Posted On May 25, 2020 Arizona Laws,Car Accidents by John Allen Phebus

Recovering from an auto accident financially in Arizona takes bringing a claim against the insurance provider of the at-fault party and dealing with insurance claims adjusters. In most cases, an insurance company will provide benefits to cover 100% of a victim’s medical bills and property damages. After a serious or catastrophic car accident, however, an at-fault driver’s insurance policy may have maximum limits that do not fully cover a victim’s damages. Find out how to proceed if your car accident claim exceeds an insurance policy’s limits in Arizona.

Arizona’s Minimum Insurance Requirements

Many drivers in Arizona reduce their insurance premiums by only purchasing the minimum required amounts of auto insurance. Others unlawfully drive uninsured or underinsured. Arizona is a 15/30/10 car insurance state in terms of minimum coverage requirements.

  • $15,000 in bodily injury or death liability for one person.
  • $30,000 in bodily injury or death liability for two or more persons per accident.
  • $10,000 in property damage or destruction liability insurance per accident.

Insurance policies in Arizona also come with optional underinsured motorist insurance ($15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident) drivers must reject in writing. Only buying the bare minimum in car insurance coverage could expose a driver to personal liability in an accident. It could also make it difficult for a victim to obtain a fair amount for his or her damages.

How Can You Collect Excess Damages?

If you are in an auto accident in Arizona and find out the defendant receiving your claim does not have enough car insurance to cover your losses, discuss your options with a Glendale car accident lawyer near you. Having a claim that exceeds insurance policy limits does not necessarily mean you cannot recover fair compensation for your injuries and damages. You may be eligible to collect excess damages through other means, such as a first-party claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

A third-party insurance claim is a claim with an insurance carrier that is not your own, such as the carrier of the driver who caused your auto accident. A first-party claim refers to filing a claim with your own insurance policy. If you discover from a third-party insurance claims adjuster that the at-fault party does not have enough coverage to pay for your damages, your provider may step in to cover excess damages.

This might be the case if you have comprehensive, collision, medical pay, and/or uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. Purchasing these optional types of insurance could protect you in case of inadequate third-party coverage. You might also be able to collect excess damages through a lawsuit against the defendant and/or a third party. A lawsuit could order one or more parties to pay for your damages, helping to ensure adequate compensation.

Insurance Companies Acting in Bad Faith

In some cases, a victim’s damages truly exceed the limits of an insurance policy. In other cases, however, an insurance company acts in bad faith by telling a policyholder his or her damages exceed policy limits when they do not. Insurance bad faith can refer to any action or omission an insurance provider makes while dealing with a claim dishonestly or unfairly. If you believe a car insurance company is handling your claim in bad faith in Arizona, you may be able to file an additional suit against the insurer.

A bad faith insurance claim could lead to the company owing you compensation for your original losses as well as additional money for its unfair dealings. The courts could force the insurance corporation to pay for treating your claim dishonestly or unlawfully. If you discover your accident claim did not exceed insurance policy limits and the insurer was handling your case in bad faith, work with a Glendale personal injury attorney to go up against the insurance company in pursuit of fair compensation.