Everyone who drives on the roads, regardless of the state, is required to have automotive insurance. Unfortunately, after a motor vehicle accident, some insurance companies will deny claims based on factors outside of the driver’s control or for reasons the driver had no idea could void their coverage.
Improper operation: road rage, willful damage and unlawful acts
Road rage has become a huge issue across the country, including in Kings County and Brooklyn, New York. Some road rage incidents involve excessive speeding, which insurance companies can classify as racing. Another part of road rage is sometimes, willful damage, where one driver intentionally damages their vehicle, like using it as a battering ram against another vehicle.
Of course, incidents of other malicious and willful damage may also cause a denial, like setting the vehicle on fire or kicking the vehicle in a fit of rage. Indeed, any unlawful act can cause one’s insurance company to void coverage.
Improper usage: commercial, business, dwelling, etc.
Another common reason for insurance denials is improper usage, i.e., any usage outside of normal nonbusiness uses. Again, this could be racing, but it could also be any business use, like driving for Uber or Lyft, or even just driving something for your employer.
In fact, most insurance companies will not cover losses associated with a workers’ compensation claim. Sometimes, a noncommercial insurance policy can have a rider added to allow for limited business use, but other times, a commercial insurance policy is needed. Sadly, even living in your car can also be classified as an improper usage, if the vehicle is being used as a dwelling.
This has become a much larger issue over the past few years as van and modified-RV life has exploded. It is best to call your insurance company now, before a car accident to see if your planned use is allowed by your current policy.
Vehicle modifications can also void coverage. This could be modifications that make the vehicle more fuel-efficient, faster or have additional usages. It can also include modifications to make it act like an RV. Call your insurance company before making modifications.
Finally, insurance companies often include language that they do not cover Acts of God. Such disasters include natural disasters, like hurricanes, tornados and floods, and catastrophes, like wars and nuclear accidents. Though, insurance riders for this coverage can usually be added to most auto insurance policies. Of course, when insurance companies deny claims, a Garden City, New York, attorney may be able to help.