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Auto Insurance Complaints
Complaint 1 of 15 in "Billing or Pricing Issues"
Insurance Carrier: Geico
State: New Jersey
My vehicle was stolen from my place of business on Nov. 20, 2008. Upon calling my claim into my carrier, I was informed that my policy had been cancelled in Sept. for nonpayment. A notice of cancellation was never received.
After showing evidence that payment was made (and withdrawn from account) on Sept. 29, I was told that the policy number was written incorrectly and a refund check was mailed in October. Evidently, my husband and I deposited the refund check (without knowledge), therefore the carrier considers us uninsured and I am out a 2006 minivan, of which we still owe approx. $15,000 on.
When I asked the carrier for proof of delivery for the alleged cancellation notice, they informed me that they do not send them certified. They did, however, have no problem sending a certified notice to my home on Dec. 6, 2008 informing us that they deny any liability to our claim. A few days later, we received a check from them for $39 with no explanation as to what it is for, other than a recent change in our policy.
Insurance Expert Answer:
Carriers don't send routine cancellation notices by certified mail -- they send out huge numbers, with most folks then paying, and the cost would be huge to mail certified and get a signed return receipt. They rely on business processes and systems to establish mailing, and once mailed, letters are presumed delivered (individual letters are less routine, and thus maybe sent certified to assure legal compliance).
I suggest you see a local NJ lawyer AND contact the NJ Insurance Department in Trenton. They just might force the carrier to pay as it is clear there was timely payment and an error on someone's part in crediting it to the proper the policy number.
The issue is then what role did your wife's cashing of the small check play? That's a little more unclear. In some states the cashing of the check might be seen as an acceptance of the cancellation of the policy, while in others it would not. But don't complicate the matter by cashing the small check too!