Insurance Policy Limits : To Disclose, or Not To Disclose
As you would expect, insurance policies and their limits play a substantial role in personal injury cases. A policy limit is a maximum amount the insurance company is required to pay out for your injuries or damages. When involved in a car accident, people are often hesitant about whether or not to disclose their insurance policy limits to the opposing party. It’s a highly controversial and widely misunderstood issue.
The minimum auto insurance requirements in Alabama are $25,000 bodily injury liability limit per person, $50,000 maximum for all bodily injuries to be paid for any one accident and $25,000 maximum for property damage per accident. In Alabama, you are not legally required to disclose limits of insurance coverage until a claim is filed.
So, the question remains: To disclose or not to disclose your insurance policy limits? There are two schools of thought, and it is often where an attorney and insurance adjusters’ options diverge.
Not to disclose insurance policy limits
Traditionally, insurance companies refuse to disclose the policy limit. By keeping the policy limit close to the vest, an insurance company enjoys the advantage of forcing the third-party claimant to negotiate in the dark and make a demand without the benefit of knowing what compensation is potentially available. However, this information seems silly to keep private as it will eventually be revealed informal discovery once litigation begins.
Insurance adjusters just think a little differently than personal injury attorneys. Insurance adjusters often have the insurer’s economic interests as their priority rather than the policyholders’ best interests. However, insurance companies are obligated under the law to put
the policyholder’s interest above its own interest and must attempt to settle the claim within
policy limits to protect the policyholder from an excess judgment.
To disclose insurance policy limits
There are several reasons in favor of disclosing your insurance policy limits when asked. First and foremost, it may prevent the entire litigation process — saving you time and money. Likewise, because your insurance policy limit is an essential component of evaluating a personal injury case, disclosing the limit facilitates productive settlement discussions. Plus, it may even discourage the victim from demanding more than the policy limit.
At Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys, our advice to clients is to release the insurance limits when asked for the information. It is way easier to give up the information now than to wait to be sued to give it up. After all, if it helps to resolve the matter, why wouldn’t you disclose your policy limit? Despite what your insurance adjuster says, releasing the information is usually in your best interest as the policyholder. However, we do advise hiring an experienced personal injury to fight for you and stand by you through the claims process.
Call Mark Petro of Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys
Mark Petro has built a reputation of being the go-to guy to get personal injury claims handled in a manner that maximizes the amount of recovery so that you get what you deserve sooner rather than later. Call Mark Petro of Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys for a free consultation about your case. Let us fight for you!