Quite often, a caller will go into great detail about the circumstances surrounding the car accident they have just been involved in, and how the other driver was at fault.  However, when they make a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, their claim is denied because unbeknownst to them, the caller’s insurance policy has been cancelled or there was a lapse in coverage during which the incident occurred.

This, of course, is a major problem in Louisiana because of our state’s “no pay, no play” law, as it is affectionately called.  If you’ve never heard of it, Louisiana law states that an uninsured driver is barred from bringing a claim against another driver for a car accident injury (even if he is at fault) for the first $15,000 of personal injury damages and the first $25,000 in property damages.  Unfortunately, many drivers don’t realize that there has been a lapse in their auto insurance coverage and that they are, in fact, driving uninsured.

When Can Auto Insurance Companies Cancel My Car Insurance Policy?

Louisiana law provides that when you purchase a new auto insurance policy, the insurance company may cancel it within 60 days.  If it is cancelled for non-payment of premium during that time, the company must give you a 10 day notice.  If it is cancelled for any other reason, such as a traffic violation or an at-fault car accident, a 20 day notice is required.

An insurance company cannot cancel your auto insurance policy if it has been in effect for 60 days or more or is a renewal unless:  (1) you fail to pay your premium, (2) you file a fraudulent claim, or (3) you or a member of your household has a driver’s license or motor vehicle registration suspended during the policy period.  After the 60 day period, if a company cancels your policy due to failure to pay your premium it must give you a 10 day notice in writing. For any other reason, you must be given a 30 day notice in writing by certified mail.

If your insurance company decides not to renew your policy, it must provide you with notice 20 days prior to the policy’s ending date.  Your company is required to give you the reason for cancellation or non-renewal if your request it in writing.  Within 30 days of cancellation, the company must refund all unused premiums that did not pay for coverage.

What If My Auto Insurance Company Cancels My Policy Without Notifying Me?

If your auto insurance policy has been cancelled and the insurance company did not follow these explicit procedures, such as giving proper notice, then the insurance company may be required to provide coverage for your car accident claim.  In any case, the best remedy is to avoid lapses in coverage altogether, because you never know when you may find yourself involved in an accident.

Some good tips include: Send your premiums well in advance of the due date;  have payments automatically deducted from a bank account that always has sufficient funds;  or, pay multiple months at a time, for example, in three or six month policy periods.   Also, if you think your auto insurance has been cancelled in error, you can file a complaint with the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner.

Contact Us About Your Car Accident Injury

If you have been involved in a car accident injury, contact the personal injury attorneys at Morris Bart, LLC Attorneys at Law for a free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys.  Our law firm will review the details of your case and advise you on the best approach to getting the compensation you deserve for your car accident injury.

May 23, 2013 | Categories: Auto Accidents, Legal Tips |