Legal Question in Insurance Law in California

Can a car insurance refuse to pay a rental car bill because their investigation took long?

Some lady hit my car when she ran a red light at an intersection Feb. 25. I have police report and a witness on my side.

I filed a claim with her insurance and not mine cuz everyone told me not to. The claim adjuster on her insurance took her time on finding her at fault even though I had a witness. My car was towed at the scene, i gave authorization to the body shop but they couldnt fix the car until they got the check from AAA (her insurance). Now they wont cover the car rental from Feb. 25 to March 9th because they say i could of had my insurance fix the car and therefore it wouldnt have taken so long.... Technically, i dont have to file a claim with my insurance if im not at fault so why wont they pay?

I mean why should a law abiding citizen have to pay out of pocket and miss paying her rent when the reckless driver doesn't have to pay a dime? Can they do that?

P.S. It's April 3rd... still no car.

Asked on 4/03/12, 4:40 pm

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1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Actually you ARE required to make a claim with your own insurance. The other driver's insurance "technically" has ZERO obligation to you. They don't even have to process your claim at all. Insurance companies owe NO duty of any kind to anyone but their insureds. In auto cases, they usually are happy to deal directly with the other driver when their insured is clearly at fault, because that saves everyone money and is a service to their insured. But from a legal standpoint they have no duty to you of any kind, and "technically" they don't even have a duty to their insured except to indemnify them for losses and liability incurred. Your claim is only just that, a "claim" of liability. Her insurance could sit back and wait for you to sue her before doing anything, if they really wanted just to follow the absolute minimum duties under the law. And "technically" YOU have a duty to minimize your losses, including making a claim on your own insurance if it is going to run up your rental bill if you don't. It's called mitigation of damages.

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Answered on 4/03/12, 6:28 pm

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