It’s in the business interest of auto insurance companies to try and save money in order to turn a profit. Many of these methods show up as exclusions and exemptions from your car insurance policy, exclusions that are often held to be legal by Pennsylvania courts, and could be a surprise to you if you haven’t examined your policy closely.
Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)
Pennsylvania’s MVFRL covers the laws relating to automobile insurance, from required benefits, to exclusions from benefits. The general provisions cover the minimum requirements one must purchase for liability and property damage coverage, Pennsylvania’s options of pure no-fault or modified no-fault plans, insurers’ rights in instances of misrepresentations on the policy, and the statute of limitations for auto claims.
“Named Driver Only” Insurance Policies
Last year, a judge in Montgomery County ruled that an auto insurance company could exclude coverage of a driver that was not specifically named in the insurance policy. This “named driver only” policy is antithetical to the implicit rules that have always governed auto insurance policies in the state, providing for more flexible auto insurance accident coverage. The appellant argued that the named driver only policy violated § 1718(c) of Pennsylvania’s MVFRL and was contrary to public policy, but the judge upheld the policy, holding that auto insurance companies, by only providing coverage for named drivers, were not explicitly excluding named drivers, as outlined in the state MVFRL. This decision has broad implications for individuals who have purchased auto insurance and may not understand all of the legal implications of what the contract provides for. Make sure that you understand all of these provisions, ask questions of your insurance company, and ensure that your policy is in accordance with how you intend to use your automobile.
Bad Faith Claims
As attorneys experienced with all varieties of auto-related accidents, we regularly deal with insurance companies refusing to fulfill obligations in auto insurance policies. If and when this refusal significantly impacts your life, you may need to file a bad faith claim against the insurance company. In this instance, it is essential that your attorney be meticulous about gathering evidence and proof for your claim. To establish a claim of bad faith under Pennsylvania state law, a plaintiff must establish that the insurance company lacked a reasonable basis for denying benefits and did so knowingly or recklessly. The company must have breached a duty such as good faith and instead refused to pay policy proceeds in a frivolous or unfounded manner. However, courts require extensive proof in allowing bad faith claims to proceed. Your attorney cannot simply put forth conclusory statements unsupported by facts to make your claim, but rather must provide specific details in order to present a legally sufficient cause of action for bad faith.
Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys
At Solnick & Associates, LLC, we spend every day fighting on behalf of injury victims. We have extensive experience working on issues related to insurance companies, corporations, and the government. We can assist you in areas involving personal injury, insurance claims, and other matters involving protecting the rights of individuals. If you need assistance with an issue related to auto insurance claims, please contact Solnick & Associates, LLC today.