By Matthew Vanderford
Recently someone came up to me and asked if there was anything that could be done for a family member who had been involved in a very serious auto accident. As they began to explain the situation, it became clear that the accident not only affected the young adult involved, but the parent who was relaying the story too. As the story unfolded about that terrible day, the mom began to describe the impact being so severe that the woman’s daughter was rushed away unconscious in an ambulance to the ER. Alone and being worked on by hospital staff, this just old enough to be out on her own daughter, regained consciousness to find herself face to face with a Sheriff. And who, after answering questions as they were fired off one after another, was left in such a state that college had to be put on hold.
Here’s the facts:
• It was raining and the roads were slick.
• A truck pulled out in front of her daughter.
• Her daughter hit the vehicle in front.
• “Full Coverage” was in place for the daughter’s car.
After things settled down a bit, the daughter’s insurance company proceeded to pay for damages to the vehicle and driver in front, but then failed to compensate the insured daughter for her losses as believed covered in the policy. After going around and around with the carrier, the daughter was left with expenses and the carrier stood by their position, “NO, we won’t pay for that.” So what’s a person to do and how do you protect yourself in a situation like this?
Here’s some basic “Insurance Rules of Engagement:”
Know what type of policy you have – most people assume they’re covered only to find out too late when they’re not.
Keep Your Auto Id Cards, Registration, Emergency Contact Information together so those that need to know about an accident can be notified quickly.
Be Your Own Defense – take photos, gather as much information as you can – speak to witnesses who might be around. (If this can’t be done at the time, you can ask the police or sheriff’s office to send a copy of the report which might identify witnesses to the event.)
When speaking to investigators of any kind, know that you can wait until you feel safe, secure and of sound mind to answer questions. You might want to have an attorney present.
Don’t take no for an answer – just because the insurance company says “NO, we won’t pay for that” doesn’t mean “NO, we won’t pay for that.” What that means is, “NO, we won’t pay for that until you prove to us why we should.”
Although the story of this daughter hasn’t turned out too well so far, perhaps a goodness that can come from this tragedy now is that it can be shared to better prepare and help those who could find themselves in a similar situation now or in the future. Sometimes the only thing we may see come from a tragedy is the experience of being able to help those suffering the same. And it’s with that thought that this writing is dedicated to the tragedy this family has experienced, so that their experience might not be in vain, but used to help someone else in need.
Perhaps this accident was no accident at all…