Can my insurer hold up a claim if I changed my deductible 10 before my car was damaged in a flood?

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Can my insurer hold up a claim if I changed my deductible 10 before my car was damaged in a flood?

My vehicle was damaged due to a flood. We informed the insurance shortly after this happened. We have been waiting for repairs to start for about 3 weeks now. The car repair shop just informed us yesterday that the engine had water which was something my insurer was looking into in order to not pay for a new engine because they want to reduce repair cost in order to avoid a total loss. Our bank recommended we change our deductible from $1999 to $999 before the incident happened. So I did that 10 days before the flood damage happened. Now the insurance is stating that they need to investigate which deductible we are liable for because it was too close to the incident. I feel lost. I need legal advice on my situation.

Asked on June 5, 2015 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

They are allowed a reasonable time to look into any questions or issues about your coverage, since they are not required to pay more than the coverage you were in fact entitled to at that time. However, while "reasonable" is not defined in hard-and-fast terms, it should not take more than around 10 - 15 business days to do this research, since it is a function of when they received notice of the change, when any required forms were signed and received by them, when any additional payment for the lower deductible (since it would cost you more for a lower deductible) was due and whether such was late (i.e. did you have pay any increase up front, before the change went into effect), etc.; that is, everything they need to look into it should be in their files. If they do not respond within that time period, you should ask them what the hold-up is, and if you do not receive a satisfactory answer, your options are to file a complaint with the state agency/board regulating insurers and/or to file a lawsuit for breach of contract. (Of course, a lawsuit for a$1,000--the difference in deductibles--is almost certainly not economically worthwhile, unfortunately.)


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