Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Managing Editor & Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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You’ve been in an accident with a someone who is not insured and your policy includes uninsured motorist coverage and now your car doesn’t run. You file an insurance claim with your insurer and expect them to act immediately to get you a rental car, look into the damages and authorize the funds to get your car fixed. That’s why you have insurance, right?

That’s how we’d all like it to work. However, as anyone who’s ever submitted a claim knows – it practically never works like that. You call the claim department over and over again to find out the status of your claim. You leave message after message and when you finally do talk with someone, the file is being “reviewed”. Chances are, somebody there has told you that they’ll call you back. You wait, but the phone doesn’t ring, so you rent a car yourself and hope for the best.

Consumer tips for getting results Sound familiar? Well, it is. We asked Attorney Bob Scott, a partner with the Advocate Law Group in California to tell us what consumers can do about getting answers from claim departments. According to Scott, “You shouldn’t wait two months [before taking action]. You need to get on a supervisor of the company and say ‘I don’t know what’s going on. What’s the problem? Nobody’s telling in writing!’ Insurance claims follow the old saying, ‘The squeaky wheel gets the grease’. You should be polite, appropriate and not nasty. You should send good factual letters and document what’s going on. If you’re not getting satisfaction from the claims handler, ask for the name of their supervisor. Write a letter to the supervisor, copy the claims handler, and send all the letters you’ve sent in the past and push it up the ladder!”

And when THAT doesn’t work…

When all else fails, contact your state’s insurance commissioner or insurance department. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a link to insurance commissioners and departments for every state (www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm). These agencies have been set up to monitor insurance dealings in your state. If you send a letter, make sure to copy your insurance company. If you still can’t get satisfaction, consider contacting an attorney. If the saying ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ is true, then having an attorney holding that wheel may get you even further. Insurers want to avoid litigation whenever possible, so when you take the steps to contact an attorney, it sends a message to your insurer that you’re serious and are not going away.