Can my auto insurance claim be denied if I do not fully cooperate with the insurance company?

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Question:

Can my auto insurance claim be denied if I do not fully cooperate with the insurance company?

Answer:

It depends on which insurance company we’re talking about -- your own or the other driver’s -- and what they’re asking you to do.

In general, if you’re making an injury claim or a vehicle damage claim under your own car insurance policy, you have a contractual obligation to co-operate with the carrier’s investigation and processing of your claim.

That includes submitting any relevant documentation they ask for, giving them statements about the accident and your injuries, keeping them updated on the progress of any medical treatment you receive, making your vehicle available for an inspection, and complying with other reasonable requests.

But what about requests from the other driver’s insurance carrier?    

If the other driver’s insurance company is asking you for a recorded statement, you don’t need to give it, and you probably shouldn’t. There’s no law that requires you to make a recorded or written statement to the other driver’s insurance company. They may be looking for a way to pin you down to one story so they can isolate inconsistencies later on, or they may be looking to trip you up and make you say something halfway incriminating. (Get more information: How Your Recorded Statement Can Be Used Against You.)

If the other driver’s insurance company asks for an Independent Medical Examination (IME), in which a doctor retained by the insurance company will examine you and evaluate your condition based on the injuries you are claiming, you are required to attend. But if you have an attorney, he or she (or at least someone from the attorney’s office) will likely attend the IME with you to make sure that your rights are protected and nothing happens that could damage your case. (Learn more about the Independent Medical Exam in a car accident case.)     

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