Question about coverage lapse and reinstatement in regards to an auto theft claim Dan Viens asked 11 months ago
Question about coverage lapse and reinstatement in regards to an auto theft claim

My car was stolen July 9th and recovered 4 days later. At the time my coverage had lapsed due to an auto-payment that didn’t go through two months prior. I intended to make up the payment but just procrastinated it. You can imagine my additional anger and frustration when I realized that my car was gone AND I wasn’t covered. I thought I was on my own and was relieved when they found my car that it only appeared initially that I’d have to replace a broken window and the ignition cylinder. I got estimates and was preparing to have the work done on my own.

I filed a police report immediately but my insurer’s offices were closed that day (it was a Sunday) so I called the next day to reinstate my policy. Even though I assumed there was no way they’d cover me retroactively I wanted to make sure I was current in case anything happened to or with my car while it was out of my hands. I didn’t even mention the theft because I didn’t think it mattered and I wasn’t going to file a claim anyway. They asked at the time if I had any tickets or accidents during the lapse but nothing more.

Soon after my car was returned I discovered that significant damage had been done to my engine during the 4 days it had been gone (for context my car is a 2021 model with only 27,000 miles on it that had been running perfectly before the theft). Again I thought I was on my own so I had a mechanic come assess it and was getting estimates on repairs. Then I got a letter in the mail from my agency stating that I was approved for continuous coverage and there was no lapse. I immediately filed a claim. My agent called and asked why the delay, and I told him everything. He said any time theft is involved there’s an inspection phase but as soon as that’s complete they’ll proceed with the claim.

It’s now been more than 34 days. In Washington, they’re required to complete the investigation phase in 30. I’ve emailed several times and get no response. Finally I called last week and asked for someone else, only to get an email response from my agent stating my case was still being investigated and they’d let me know when that was complete.

What do I do now? How aggressive should I be about demanding some answers? My insurer is The Hartford and I’ve been told that they’re one of the best companies out there and typically do things by the book. Still, my fear is that they’re trying to find a reason to deny my claim because of the delay in filing, but I have a long paper trail showing I had no intention of anything dishonest or unethical, and in fact was proceeding with the idea that I was going to have to do all these expensive repairs on my own because I wasn’t covered…… until I received their letter that I was.

I’m desperate for answers and would appreciate any guidance you can offer.

Thank you!

1 Answers
Al Stoll Al Stoll Expert answered 11 months ago

I suggest stacking all of your letters into an exhibit, and send a follow up letter, (U.S. Priority Mail – with tracking) that describes all of your efforts and emails, and make sure you also send a copy to your agent. Ask them to respond in writing in ten days. If they don’t respond, send another, priority letter with tracking, confirming they did not respond. If that fails, investigate how to report the insurance company to your state’s insurance commissioner. And see if you can find a local lawyer to help you further. All the best!