Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Written by Shuman Roy
Content Writer & Entrepreneur Shuman Roy

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

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Insurance Q&A: “What to do if your car insurance will not pay for a claim?”

There are few things more frustrating…and while I hope you’re reading this article to research for a term paper, the odds are you ended up here because you are having difficulty seeing eye to eye with your car insurance claims adjuster.

“CWP,” which stands for closed-without-pay, is an insurance company’s favorite acronym. The phrase describes an insurance claim where payment of any kind was denied. It’s unfortunate, but it happens every day.

In most cases, the insurance company isn’t ripping us off; we simply didn’t purchase enough insurance or the right kind.

Now do you remember the conversation where your insurance agent asked if you wanted to purchase uninsured motorist coverage and you said no because the $50 per year more was too expensive and “you drive very carefully?”

What Can You Do if a Claim is Denied?

The insurance company is keeping a detailed record, if not an actual recording, of every conversation and report having anything to do with the claim.

It is recommended you do the exact same thing as you move through the process.

There are a few steps you can take to try to rectify the situation and get the insurance company to see things your way and hopefully pay your claim:

– Read your policy to determine if your claim or “cause of loss” is insured against. As discussed above, if you did not purchase uninsured motorist coverage and your vehicle was damaged in a hit-and-run accident, you might as well just move on to the grieving process. Call your insurance agent or insurer directly if you are having a difficult time understanding your policy language.

– Call your insurer directly if you believe your claim should be covered after reading the policy. You should at least ask your insurer to explain their side of the story as to why they denied your claim. It may be pretty simple to understand (although not any easier to swallow) once it is explained in detail. This is where you should express your difference in opinion and ask how their appeal process works. Remember to get details and keep track of the names of everyone you talk to. You never know when you may need to reference any one particular conversation.

– If your insurer is denying your claim based on details of a police report you will have to take some steps to obtain the report and go over it with a fine tooth comb. Let the police know if anything on the report is inaccurate and make sure it’s fixed. Then you must head back to the insurer.

– You will need to file a written claim appeal to the insurance company. It should be short and to the point. No “he said, she said” and keep your opinions to a minimum. Facts are the only thing that can save you here. Be sure to detail what you think is incorrect and provide all of your evidence for their consideration.

– If you are still certain you have been cheated, you may have to take it to another level and seek the help of an attorney or contact your state department of insurance and file a complaint. The state will certainly look into the matter for you. You might end up in arbitration as well.

Either way, you will have your say and that could help you get things overturned.

Read more: Why do insurance companies deny claims?