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Auto Insurance Claims/problem with claim denied ny auto insurer


Hi-Let me thank you up front for sharing your advice - I think I will volunteer here in my own field. So: I have been with Allstate Auto Insurance for many years. I have the best plan possible.  Until the accident I'm about to relay, I have a pristine driving record.

I drive a 2010 Subaru Forrester, which I lease.  Previously I had a 2007 Subaru Forrester, when that lease ended, I traded it in for the 2010 model, and a new lease. I lived in Utah at the time. My husband and I were in the process of separating, but we co-signed the new lease, though I'd be the one driving the car.

In Utah I believe the law requires that when a car is purchased/leased it must be registered immediately.  My husband claims he registered the car immediately as was legally required.  I believe this is a temporary registration, and then is followed up by a permanent registration.  He claims he did that, too.  He tends to be very thorough about this kind of thing.

After we officially/legally separated, we both moved to California (obviously not together). Somewhere along the way his name was taken off the lease - I made all the car payments and all the car insurance payments and still do.

I became very ill after my move to CA June 2011, and had an assistant who handled my bills, so I didn't actually look at them. I realized after quite a few months - when I did see a bill - that on my Allstate bill my car was still listed as a 2007.  My asst. called Allstate and left numerous messages saying I had a new lease and it was a 2010 -- I figured it was simply a clerical error on Allstate's part and didn't think it was particularly important.  (Yuh -- naive me).

In May 2012, I had an accident, and put in a claim.  The only car involved was my own, the only person involved was me.  My assistant took the car in to get an assessment of the cost so that Allstate could issue me a check for the damage, and I could then get the car fixed.

My asst. was told the amount of damage wasn't worth putting in the claim - that I'd be better off paying for it myself because my insurance would go up more than the cost of the accident.

Again, utterly naive and inexperienced, I accepted this, figured I'd get around to fixing it eventually (I was very low on funds). Eventually, I got a specific appraisal on the damage, and was told it would be more then $3000! I figured with my perfect driving record, no way could my insurance go up that much.  So I went back and put the claim thru.

Everything went fine, until I received a letter from one of Allstate's Insurance Adjustors turning down my claim!!  Why? Because I had put a claim in on a 2010 Subaru Forrester but their records showed that at the time of my accident I was insured for a 2007 Subaru Forrester.

I explained to anyone and everyone that there had to be a clerical error on Allstate's part, and when I began my new lease on the new car they had somehow kept entering 2007 instead of changing it to 2010.

They said they needed to see the car registration that would prove I drove a 2010 at the time of my accident.  I asked my very estranged husband to get the paperwork/original registration from Utah Allstate.  Allegedly, he tried to go back to the woman he had used, but she was no longer in business.  I said: Allstate still must have a record of your having registered the car. But when my Allstate agent in CA checked, they could find no records of the 2010 car having been registered in Utah.

This just seems insane. The question then came up: when did I re-register the car in CA.  The answer is - I do not have a clue.  I had assistants doing this stuff and it's possible the change in registration -- from Utah to CA -- happened long after I moved.  However, the car WOULD STILL HAVE BEEN REGISTERED, EVEN IF IT WAS REGISTERED IN UTAH.  I know it was eventually registered in CA, as my assistant had an accident some time after mine, and Allstate reflected that I drove and insured a 2010 model.

To my surprise, the registration was not in the glove compartment of my car.  I have tried to reach this assistant - who no longer works for me - to see if she took the registration.  She does not answer my emails.

I need to know how to find the ORIGINAL registration from Utah -- it is next to impossible for me to believe that the car was not registered there.  OR I need proof that even if the registan was not switched from Utah to CA until AFTER  the time of my accident (I don't know if this is true or not -- again, it could be an Allstate clerical error) that the car I paid insurance for every month so I'D BE COVERED IN CASE OF AN ACCIDENT was a 2010 and not a 2007. I don't think that if the car was registered, but still registered in Utah, that it would affect my ability to make a claim. That I neither owned nor leased a 2007 car when I moved to CA.

What do I do and how do I do it?  It's crazy-making -- why would I pay monthly to insure a 2007 car I did not have?  How could they turn me down AND keep my insurance payments?  I can prove when I began the new lease by getting a copy from the Subaru dealership in Salt Lake City.  My Chase Auto Loan reflects that my car payments are for the lease of a 2010 car.  But that is considered irrelevant to Allstate, unless I can prove my car registration.


Thank you so much.


Your case is fairly confusing.  My suggestion is that you complain to the claim rep's supervisor and ask for a reversal.  You may have difficulty getting coverage for this loss, as it is your responsibility to make sure the correct vehicle is listed on your policy.  Courts have held this repeatedly.  The exception would be if you only received 1-2 bills showing the wrong vehicle.  But in this case, you would have received multiple bills showing the 2007 model.

But if they deny the claim, they should refund your premiums for the time after you turned in the 2007 vehicle.  So in the end, I suspect you'll come out almost the same either way.

They cannot have it both ways - collecting premiums for a car you did not own and not insuring a vehicle you did own.  If the supervisor does not agree, complain to his/her boss.  If that does not work, complain to the state insurance departments of both California and Utah.  Good luck!

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I am currently an Auto Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I have 20 years experience in the industry, having worked as a Claims Adjuster, Injury Settlement Negotiator, Claims Manager, SIU/Fraud Investigator, and Compliance Officer......I can answer questions related to any aspect of Automobile insurance claims and coverages. I can provide an inside look at how insurers operate. I always treat my customers fairly and want to help make sure you are treated fairly. However, please keep in mind that being treated fairly according to the law does not guarantee that you will get what you want. I can also answer some questions regarding Homeowner's and other types of insurance claims. I have handled all types of auto insurance claims and coverages. I am NOT an automotive repair expert but can give advice re how insurers handle complex repair issues. Please keep in mind that every state has its own set of laws pertaining to rules of the road, liability, and insurance. No one is an expert on every state. I am most familiar with laws in Maryland, DC, West Virginia, and Virginia, but will attempt to answer questions for other states. I am not an attorney an cannot provide legal advice. My advice will be my opinion based on my experience.


I am currently an Auto Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I have 20 years experience in the industry, having worked as a Claims Adjuster, Injury Settlement Negotiator, Claims Manager, SIU/Fraud Investigator, and Compliance Officer. I am not an attorney an cannot provide legal advice. My advice will be my opinion based on my experience.

CPCU Society. Adjusters license in multiple states. International Association of Specal Investigators

I have a B.S. in Finance and have completed the AIC and CPCU designations.

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