Drivers purchase car insurance to protect them if an accident happens. Collision and personal injury insurance provides coverage for your own injuries and property damage when you are at fault for a wreck. A liability policy-which is required by Kansas law-provides coverage for victims if you cause them harm or property damage in an accident. If you are involved in a wreck your accident-related expenses may be covered either by your own insurance or by the liability insurance of the at-fault driver. At least, that is how it is supposed to work.
In reality, car accident insurance issues routinely arise after a Kansas car crash. These issues make it hard for those who have been involved in accidents to successfully make their claims. Laws have been passed in every state in the U.S. to try to protect consumers from some of the most egregious violations of insurance companies, but insurers still manage to deny claims, delay claims and pay injury victims less than their claims are worth after accidents happen.
What Kansas Laws Protect Consumers from Car Accident Insurance Issues?
Unethical behavior on the part of insurance companies happens nationwide. This is why every state has some variation of a model act known as the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. Insure.com reports the National Association of Insurance Commissions created the model laws, which have been adopted in whole or in part nationwide. In Kansas, the state's version of the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act is found in Article 24: Regulation of Certain Trade Practices.
Insurers are prohibited by this law from engaging in certain behaviors when car crash victims make claims after collisions. For example, one of the most important requirements is that insurers not impose needless and lengthy delays in processing and paying claims. Unethical insurers use a number of delay tactics. They may not respond to claims in a timely manner, may not move investigations forward quickly, and may ask crash victims to provide lots of repetitive or unnecessary paperwork. These practices are prohibited when insurers are found to be using them as a method of delaying a claim rather than moving forward to pay out claims in a reasonable manner.
Some insurers delay and drag out the process because they know people have bills to pay (especially when they have sustained serious injuries), can't work, have mounting medical expenses and are left with an un-drivable car. Insurers hope that these accident victims will become desperate for money by the time they process the claim, and thus will accept less than they should receive.
Kansas Law not only prohibits unreasonable delays in claims processing, but also prohibits insurers from misleading consumers about the terms of their policies or from suddenly changing policy terms without notification or authorization. If an insurance company changes policy terms after the insurance is purchased and the consumer does not consent to the change, the insurer may not be able to enforce new policy provisions.
Car accident victims can make claims to the Kansas Insurance Commissioner when insurers do not follow the rules in reasonably processing claims. A bad faith lawsuit may also be filed under certain circumstances when insurance issues arise.