There is no question that insurance law is complex, and insurance policies are often full of intricate details. Laws governing the insurance industry also vary from state to state, further complicating the matter. Unfortunately, many consumers have a simplistic view of insurance coverage, believing that because they pay a premium, anything that goes wrong should be covered. Instead of having a full understanding of the limitations and conditions of their policies when they purchase them, they may discover those limitations only when disaster strikes.
One of the peculiarities of New York's auto insurance law is that New York is a no-fault state. Like eleven other states, New York requires one's own insurance company to cover any damages from an accident, regardless of whether the policyholder was at fault. The insurance company then seeks to recoup that money from the at-fault driver's insurance company. This system ultimately saves the policyholder money.
However, if one is in an accident through another driver's fault, the victim must file a no-fault claim through his or her own insurance company in order for this coverage to apply. For example, one New York driver was recently involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver. He was not injured, but medics examined him at the scene. Assuming the other driver's insurance would cover him, the man failed to file a no-fault claim. He was angry and confused to receive a bill for the medical attention he had received after the accident.
When consumers fail to understand their policies, they often blame the insurance industry and seek redress for perceived wrongs. While it may be true that insurance laws can be confusing, ultimately, it is the responsibility of the consumer to understand what he or she is paying for; seeking answers a trustworthy source is a good place to start. However, when policyholders turn to litigation, the insurance company may need an advocate of its own in an experienced attorney.
Source: whec.com, "In NY, even if you didn't cause the crash, your insurance pays the bill", Aug. 16, 2017