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Auto Insurance Claims/Insurance company claims I wasn't wearing my seatbelt

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Question
Car after accident
Car after accident  
I was involved in an auto accident on 12/12/12 and i rear-ended someone. My car (2010 Chevy Malibu) was totaled but the other driver I hit was able to drive his car away.
The insurance adjuster who examined my vehicle at the collision shop I had my car taken to stated that due to my seatbelt not being in a locked position (claims seatbelt will lock when airbag is deployed) that I wasn't wearing it.

My car was paid for because I had full coverage, with gap insurance but an insurance agent with my insurance company stated that my insurance will most likely increase because of me not wearing my seatbelt. I believe that I was wearing it at the time of my accident.

My father has advised me not to challenge this because he claims there is a special box that is located in my car that will be able to report how fast I was going at the time of the accident, if I was wearing my seatbelt, if the passenger seatbelt was in use, and other details. Basically a box that records the electronic functions of the car at all times.

My question is how can the insurance company prove that I wasn't wearing my seatbelt at this time? My car was totaled so isn't is possible that their "safety feature seatbelt lock" malfunctioned?

Answer
Hi Nicholas,

The truth is that your premiums will likely go up regardless of the seat belt issue since you were at fault for the collision. It is generally the fact that you were at fault that determines if your5 rates go up after a collision.

As far as trying to fight the issue of the seat belt, this would require that you hire (and pay) a vehicle seat belt mechanical engineer to determine if the seat belt malfunctioned. This could cost several thousand dollars. This cost would not be reimbursed to you even if it were found that you were correct.

I hope this helps
Richard Hixenbaugh

Auto Insurance Claims

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Richard Hixenbaugh

Expertise

Auto insurance claims procedure, auto coverage, liability issues, auto damage questions, how to deal with the insurance company, loss of use and diminished value.

Experience

I have been involved in the insurance industry for over 25 years. I have experience in underwriting, sales, claims adjusting, auto damage estimating, auto value appraising and diminished value appraising. I have testified as an expert witness over 35 times.

Organizations
Society of Certified Auto Appraisers

Education/Credentials
Completed all required courses for the Florida Property-Casualty agents license and the Florida claims adjusters license. I have attended various courses on auto damage estmating, vehicle appraising and am ASE certified in collision damage analysis.

Past/Present Clients
My company has done work for consumers nationwide.

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