9 Legit (But Annoying) Reasons Your Car Insurance Claim Could Be Rejected

You might have to cover the cost of a car accident if an insurance company denies a claim.
Updated May 8, 2024
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You pay for car insurance and even shop around for the best policy in hopes that if an expensive accident occurs, the insurer will cover the costs. Unfortunately, insurers can deny claims for various reasons.

When the insurer rejects your claim, you could be held responsible for any financial damage that occurred as a result of an accident. Here are some reasons why insurance companies deny claims.

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Your policy doesn’t cover specific types of damage

NAMPIX/Adobe man signing car insurance policy

Nearly all states require drivers to purchase a minimum liability auto insurance coverage. This will partially cover you for damages you cause to someone else and their property.

However, no state requires you to purchase collision insurance and comprehensive coverage for damages to your vehicle.

If your car is damaged by an accident or another event, the claim will be denied if you have not purchased these coverages.

You didn’t file a claim promptly after the accident occurred

Monkey Business/Adobe car accident calling insurance company

Calling your insurance company is one of the first things you should do after an accident. If you wait too long to file a claim, it might be harder to gather evidence demonstrating that you weren’t at fault.

You might only have 30 days (or less) to file a claim. Wait too long, and the insurer might deny your claim.

You were driving drunk at the time of the accident

perfectlab/Adobe driving under the influence

If you contributed to an accident while driving drunk, your insurance company might still cover the costs of the damages. However, if the insurance company decides drunk driving is “intentional conduct,” it might try to deny your claim.

Some states prohibit an insurer from denying your claim in such circumstances, but others do not. There are a million reasons not to drink and drive. Consider this another one.

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You let your insurance policy lapse

Elnur/Adobe  failing to meet deadlines

Always make sure your car insurance is up to date, and you have paid for it.

If you have fallen behind on paying the premium, your insurance might have lapsed. That means you might not be covered when you get into an accident, leaving you financially responsible for all damages.

Your claim exceeds the amount of your coverage

wutzkoh/Adobe agent car salesman

Car accidents are expensive. If you haven't purchased adequate coverage, your damages may exceed the amount of coverage you have secured.

Make sure you purchase enough coverage to protect yourself fully in an accident. Otherwise, you might have to pay the difference between what your company covers and the remaining cost of any damage.

The person driving your car was an excluded driver

Song_about_summer/Adobe hands of driver on steering wheel

Some people exclude specific drivers from operating their vehicles. If you have excluded a driver from your policy but let that person drive anyway, you could be in big trouble if the driver gets in an accident.

In such circumstances, the insurance company might deny your claim, leaving you on the hook for financial damages. Never let an excluded driver behind the wheel of your car.

You scheduled repairs without authorization from your insurer

Mr. Music/Adobe mechanic examining car suspensions at workshop

After a crash, you need to wait for your insurance company’s instructions before repairing the car. The wait can be annoying, but making repairs without prior approval from the insurance company can result in a claim denial.

So, contact your insurer and make sure you are authorized to have the car repaired before bringing it to the garage.

You lied about an aspect of the accident

Halfpoint/Adobe woman in the damaged car

Honesty is always the best policy when reporting an accident — and in life in general. If the insurance company finds out you stretched the truth, it could be grounds for denying your claim.

Lying about your claim can be construed as fraud, a major offense.

Bottom line

Dragana Gordic/Adobe woman in car

Car crashes can take a huge mental, physical, and financial toll. The impact is even worse if you face the shock of a company denying your insurance claim.

Following the rules of the road, purchasing comprehensive auto insurance coverage, and regularly paying your premiums all improve your chances of a successful claim.

Remember to shop around for coverage, as this can be the best way to save on car insurance.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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