What is my recourse if an insurance company denied claim for obvious damage to vehicle and cited a non-existent method as the reasoning?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What is my recourse if an insurance company denied claim for obvious damage to vehicle and cited a non-existent method as the reasoning?

My car hit an object on the road and caused minor bumper damage but tore a couple of holes in the bottom radiator hose and left it dangling almost to the ground. As a result the engine dumped the coolant over heater and now runs terrible. Insurance company Sent out an adjuster who ignored the hose and reported engine damage not related to the the accident and that the damage predated the date of the accident. I interviewed the mechanic and he denied saying the damage was preexisting. He then gave me the report he gave the insurance and it had no dates or indication of any dates. When I called them on the obvious source of the coolant leak and the fake reason they told to forget about the previous assessment. They reassessed and came back with added repairs to just the hose and not the engine damage. They are still going with a

Asked on August 18, 2017 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you believe you can show that the damage did not predate the accident (i.e. was not pre-existing), you can sue the insurer for "breach of contract": for violating their contractual obligation (an insurance policy is a contract) to pay for your loss or damage in this situation. You'd have to show in court that the damage was not pre-exisiting: e.g. have your mechanic testify, either voluntarily or pursuant to a subpoena. 

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