So what if you were in an accident and you may be considered at fault? Or somebody sues you because they think you're a fault whether you're at fault or not. Will your insurance company hire a lawyer for you?
And that's a great question. That is their duty to defend you. Now, if that means you are getting sued and you've contacted them, they should provide you a defense. In many cases, if they do the right thing, they will pay out the claim to what its value is. But in those cases that they're not, you might get sued and if so your insurance has a duty to defend you and could be providing a lawyer for you.
Now what about an attack, catastrophic case - for instance, if you've hit somebody and unfortunately they've passed away. You still may get sued and your insurance company may try to provide them all the coverage under your policy.
Will they provide a lawyer for you? They should.
They also may provide a lawyer for you to provide a financial affidavit to show the other party that you are non-collectible. One of the reasons they may not provide a lawyer for you is if you don't have bodily injury coverage. Bodily injury coverage is the kind of coverage that protects you in case you hurt somebody else. Not just damage their car but hurt somebody else. Unfortunately, it's not required in the state of Florida if you've never had an accident before, but it is one of the most valuable pieces of insurance that you can have because if you do injure somebody else you won't get a judgment against you and you won't be paying off a judgment for the rest of your life because you've had the right coverage.
Now, another reason an insurance company may not provide a lawyer for you or may not provide a defense for you is, if you fail to do what's asked of you in the contract. Meaning, if you don't report your claim, they can deny coverage for you. If you've lied on an application, they can deny coverage for you. Even if you didn't lie on an application, but omitted facts, or during the course of your contractual agreement with the insurance company, things have changed. For instance, if you've let somebody else in your household drive your vehicle, that could be a reason for the insurance company not to give you a defense or provide you with an attorney.
So, whenever you have any kind of major changes to a household event, for instance - you get a new car, you get an additional car, you have a new driver such as a son or daughter who could be driving your car, you need to let your insurance company know so that that you comply with what is required under your insurance contract.
Now, if you don't know what's required under your insurance contract - read it. That's the only way you are going to know what your duties are. Let me tell you, insurance contracts and insurance disclosures are not easy to read. If you have any questions about it we would be happy to help determine what your duties and obligations are. But do it beforehand before it's too late so that you don't get into a position that if you cause an accident, you could be the one paying the price instead of your insurance company.
If you have any questions or would like a free overview of your insurance policy and what it covers, give us a call. Set up an appointment, we will give this as a complimentary review for you. Thank you.