Can I deny my insurance company’s claim outcome?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I deny my insurance company’s claim outcome?

I was involved in an accident and it was with a brand new car I bought. Insurance company only wants to pay for the physical damage but not the engine failure. They state that I am liable for that because I drove my vehicle after the accident. They say the accident didn’t cause the engine to over heat, however when the impact occur it caused damage to the coolant. There was no visible smoke or liquids leaking so I didn’t know it wasn’t safe to drive. I only drove it from the place of accident to my hotel which was only less than 10 minute trip.

Asked on March 31, 2019 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your only option to recover the additional money (for the engine damage) is to sue your insurer for "breach of contract." The insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurer: they are obligated to pay when the terms of the policy say they should. To get a judgment in your favor and force them to pay, you will have to prove in court, by a "preponderance of the evidence" (or "more likely than not") that the accident caused the damage and that you had no reason to suspect you should not drive the car further. This will likely require the testimony of a mechanic who examines your car and can support your version of what happened with is expert testimony. If you can prove that the damage came out of the accident, the insurer will have to pay you the same way they pay for other damage from the accident (e.g. the physical damage). 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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