Saginaw Michigan Car Accident Lawyers Fighting Fraud
Getting into a car accident in Saginaw, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, or anywhere in Michigan is a frustrating and sometimes life-changing experience. You have medical bills, possible lost wages, car damage and car repairs, and pain and suffering that sometimes doesn’t go away. But this frustration can be compounded when your car insurance fails to step up to the plate and decides to deny the claim right away.
They do this by alleging fraud or some type of misrepresentation. They will send a letter telling you the accident is under investigation. Often, they will send another letter explaining the car insurance company is rescinding the policy, and will not make any payments to you for the car accident.
This often happens because the policyholder, the person who purchased the car insurance, fails to disclose everyone who will be driving the vehicle. They also fail to tell the insurance company everyone who is living at the residence where the car will be located. The insurance company can use this lack of information to claim a “material misrepresentation”, which is a fancy way of saying we are not going to pay your claim.
One insurance company, Progressive Insurance, has turned this into a cottage industry. Progressive has become extremely aggressive at denying otherwise valid no-fault PIP claims because a mom or daughter was not disclosed when the policy was purchased, or for some other similar reason. Many of these policies are purchased through LA Insurance, an agency with a history of not telling customers the whole truth about their car insurance.
What Are the Important Things to Disclose When Buying Car Insurance?
When you are buying car insurance in Saginaw, Michigan, in short, you should disclose everything to them. Even if you are buying the policy online through Esurance or Geico or National General, don’t hide anything from the insurance agent. This should include the following:
- Tell them everyone who lives at your home, including the name and ages of children.
- Explain where the car will be staying. If the car will be staying at more than one location, disclose this.
- Give the insurance company the correct address of where the car will be garaged.
- Don’t exclude drivers who will actually be using the vehicle.
- If more than one person will be driving the vehicle, make them a “named insured.” This will give that person more rights and benefits and will make it easier to get benefits such as lost wages and medical bills paid if any accident happens.
- If a family member moves into the household after the car policy is purchased, tell the car insurance company this information! I can’t tell you how many claims have been denied because the policyholder failed to update their car insurance carrier of new drivers and household members.
Car insurance in Saginaw, Michigan is expensive. But you are not fooling anybody by not disclosing all information to the car insurance company when you purchase the policy. All that can happen is you end up paying a lot of money for car insurance you can’t use when the unthinkable happens.
Michigan law allows car insurance companies to void or rescind a policy if they believe there was “fraud in the procurement” of the policy, or fraud when the policy was purchased. Fraud in the procurement of the policy comes in many shapes and sizes. But as mentioned above, the best way to avoid this defense and the frustration that comes with it is by disclosing everything when taking out the insurance in the first place.
Lying or failing to give all information about who will be driving the vehicle or where the vehicle will be staying to save a few bucks is never a good idea and will not help you in the long run. All this does is give the car insurance carrier ammunition to deny your claim and void the policy after a car accident occurs.
What Does the Law Say About Fraud and Michigan Car Insurance?
Under the Michigan Supreme Court case Bazzi v. Senitel Ins. Co., 502 Mich 390; 919 NW2d 20 (2018), a car insurance carrier can rescind an auto policy and not pay any Michigan no-fault PIP benefits. They can do this because the car insurance policy itself is a contract and the insurance contract provides exclusions for fraud made by the policyholder when the policy was purchased.
However, the Bazzi decision does give the injured person an avenue to still obtain no-fault benefits in certain situations. That’s why it is important to contact an experienced Michigan car crash lawyer as soon as possible if your car insurance company is alleging fraud and failing to pay your claim.
The Saginaw car accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm have been fighting insurance carriers for over 40 years. Our team of knowledgeable and aggressive Michigan auto accident attorneys knows how to fight the insurance company when they claim fraud, rescission, or material misrepresentation.
We have won cases for our clients worth millions of dollars in benefits fighting cases of alleged fraud. Please call our office for free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). We are standing by ready to answer your questions. And we never charge a penny until we win your case.