I had an accident (not at my fault) about a month ago with my car. The car stopped working, and I had to tow the car to a shop. The insurance company said they would do their best to quickly evaluate the damage and get back to me in a few days. For about one week the shop was closed, but for the next 3 weeks the insurance has not finished damage assessment. I just know that about 2 weeks ago the insurance people went to the shop and looked at the car but could not finish evaluation since the engine does not start. So they told me they are waiting for the shop to let them know what's wrong with the engine. A few days after that I called the shop, and they said the engine is broken since the accident has caused the oil to leak, and some parts inside the engine have got melted. They also told me they have let the insurance company know about this, but the insurance company has not followed up with them for anything. I emailed the person in charge at the insurance company and told him that the shop has already let them know about the engine failure, and I expect them to get back to me. I got an automatic reply that he won't be able to respond to emails until Dec 30th. Today is Dec 30th, but I still have not got anything back from him.

So, to summarize, it's basically about a month that I do not have a car, and I don't even know what to do as it is taking an extremely long time for the insurance company to do damage evaluation. I had holiday plans, and I was certain I'd have my car back a few weeks after the accident, but it seems impossible. Given that the new year starts in less than 2 days, I assume I have to wait yet another week for them to get back to me (making it almost 5 weeks by then).

So I wonder, do I have any legal rights to ask the insurance company to compensate me for this extremely long and unjustified time that is taking them to only do "damage evaluation"? Or basically, is there any law to protect my rights in this situation? Please note that my insurance plan does not cover for rental cars, but what frustrates me is that the insurance company is careless about my time and my situation, and I'm just sitting here without my car. I'm also wondering if I can somehow sue them legally because of their ignorance/carelessness? I appreciate your advice in advance.

  • 1
    Your insurance shouldn't be paying for a rental, the at-fault party's insurance should be. Have you been in touch with your insurance company? Usually they do some level of advocating for their clients with the other insurance company.
    – Hart CO
    Dec 30, 2019 at 23:19
  • @HartCO Well no one has hit my car as something got dropped from a truck in front of me and hit my car. The police report simply justifies that it's not my fault. I have been in touch with them but they do not respond to me. The person in charge is traveling which is ridiculous and no one takes his responsibilities. What should I do now?
    – Amir
    Dec 30, 2019 at 23:35
  • Why aren't you claiming on the trucks insurance? They are responsible for anything which falls off their vehicle and damages property.
    – user28517
    Dec 31, 2019 at 2:03
  • @Moo Because when the thing hit me the truck driver either didn't notice or purposefully wanted to run away. So I never saw the truck and the truck driver ...
    – Amir
    Dec 31, 2019 at 2:25
  • When the opposing insurance was being completely nonresponsive I filed a complaint with the insurance regulators. That got them to deal with it promptly. Dec 31, 2019 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


At this point, there is little legal recourse. Once the delay becomes "unreasonable", you might be able to sue them and get some compensation. I do not know what would constitute an "unreasonable" delay in your circumstances and I don't doubt that a month seems unreasonable. You have explained the reasons for the delay, so it's not like they are waiting around for no reason. They are not required to hire more agents to process the claim; unfortunately, they are not legally required to act in a fashion that customers like (i.e. aggressively work to solve the problem).

It does sound like there is a customer-service problem, which is what reviews and the BBB are about. You can of course be on the phone with the mechanic and the insurance agency, and if things get severe you can file a complaint with the state insurance commissioner.

  • what if it can be established that it's not a poor customer service, but a deliberate practice? Insurance companies accept payments to accept risks. If they delay repairs without compensating for rentals, they may be accepting payments for time during which they don't risk anything. They are getting paid per unit of time, but aren't providing any services during some of those units of time. This is a direct financial benefit to their bottom line. Are there any pending class action suits addressing this?
    – grovkin
    Jan 1, 2020 at 23:49
  • I don't know of any suits, but that's hardly probative. The key would be proving bad faith. If you have direct evidence (not just 'takes too long') then you can sue and in WA get 3x damages for punes.
    – user6726
    Jan 2, 2020 at 0:09
  • would it be considered a proof of bad faith if it is a demonstrable fact that the average response time is too long? assuming they can hire staff and they are electing not to and that they derive direct financial benefit from this delaying of service, would that be evidence? or do you need some slip of the tongue or even a recording of a backroom conversation planning this?
    – grovkin
    Jan 2, 2020 at 0:15
  • That's basically up to a jury to decide, and they would have to consider the company's explanation. I was suggesting a paper trail or whistle-blower testimony.
    – user6726
    Jan 2, 2020 at 0:28

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