Has An Insurance Company Denied Your Claim Because The Policy Was Previously Canceled? If So, There Is A Significant Chance That You Still Have A Valid Claim Against The Insurance Company
Many times, an insurance company will deny a claim on the grounds that the company had supposedly previously canceled the insurance policy. While that may be true in some situations, many of those claims against the insurance company are actually valid because the insurance company did not properly follow the legal requirements in order for it to validly cancel a policy.
Missouri laws spell out exactly what an insurance company has to do in order to properly and validly cancel an insurance policy. The law, and court decisions interpreting and applying the law, specifically describe the steps that an insurance company has to go through to properly cancel a policy. Similarly, if the language in the policy itself specifically describes what the insurance company has to do to properly cancel policy, then the insurance company has to comply not only with Missouri law, but also with the policy requirements.
If the insurance company does not properly take all of these steps, then the policy has not been canceled, and the insurance company can be forced to pay any valid claims under the policy even after the supposed cancellation date.
The main requirement is that the policy cancellation notice has to say that the policy is canceled now. And most policy cancellation notices do not say that, but instead say that the policy will be canceled sometime in the future.
Why Would The Insurance Company Not Follow The Rules On Properly Canceling Policies?
So why would a sophisticated insurance company not properly follow the rules? Why would they send out an invalid notice of cancellation, knowing that they might still be on the hook for any claims?
The answer is simple: Money. Almost all policy cancellation notices are sent out because the insured hasn’t made their premium payment to the insurance company. In many of these situations, the insurance company intentionally disregards the legal requirements, because it wants the insured to still send in their premium payment, and they’re afraid that if they send out the proper wording, that won’t happen. In order to send a proper valid cancellation notice under Missouri law, the insurance company has to essentially say:
“Your policy is now canceled.”
But insurance companies don’t want to do that, because if they said it that way, the policyholder would think it’s too late to send in a late payment, and would look elsewhere to buy a new insurance policy. So instead of wording it correctly, insurance companies typically send out notices saying something like:
“If we don’t receive your payment in the next 10 days, it will be canceled.”
Because a valid cancellation notice must say that the policy is canceled now, this type of wording is inadequate. If the insurance company uses this type of wording, it is not enough to properly cancel the policy.
What Happens If A Cancellation Is Invalid?
If an insurance company sends out an invalid cancellation notice, then as a general rule courts will disregard the cancellation notice and treat the policy as continuing in full force and effect until the end of the policy period. There are limits on how long the court will do that for, though they are typically taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis. An experienced attorney can help you analyze your particular situation. We are happy to help. Call Curran Law Firm at 417-823-7500 or visit our website at www.CurranLawFirm.com.
Who Has To Prove Whether The Policy Was Canceled?
The burden of proving that an insurance policy was canceled is on the person claiming that it was canceled, which is almost always the insurance company. See O’ Connor v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 831 S.W.2d 748, 751 (Mo.App.S.D. 1992) citing Farrar v. Mayabb, 326 S.W.2d 337, 341 (Mo.App. 1959).
What Should I Do If My Claim Has Been Denied Due To A Policy Cancellation?
If your claim is been denied by an insurance company because it claims that policy was previously canceled, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in dealing with insurance companies. We are happy to help. Call Curran Law Firm at 417-823-7500 or visit our website at www.CurranLawFirm.com.