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Texas Commercial Auto Insurance Claims

Below is how commercial auto insurance claims work in Texas:

  1. A business files a claim with the insurer by providing all the necessary information about the damages to the business vehicles

  2. The insurer will collect all the details and examine all aspects of the claims, by assigning a representative (adjuster) to the case

  3. Depending on the resolution, the insurer will pay out claims to cover the damages or modify the claims based on the facts of the covered loss. In some instances, the insurer may reject filed claims

When filing a commercial auto insurance claim in Texas, the best option for a business is to engage the services of a Texas-licensed commercial insurance agent. A knowledgeable agent can help avoid common pitfalls associated with filing claims and can possibly expedite the claim payout.

How Do I File a Claim for Commercial Auto Insurance?

The commercial auto insurance claims process in Texas should be initiated by the representative of an insured business. You can contact the insurer’s claim department directly or alternatively, contact the commercial insurance agent who sold you the policy. Since the agent has a working relationship with this insurer, they can help your business get through the process easier. Agents are more knowledgeable in handling the process and will typically do the following:

  • Examine the policy contract to ensure the damages to the commercial automobile are covered by it

  • Report the findings to the insured business, outlining how filing or not filing the claim will affect the business bottom line. Depending on the deductibles, coverage amounts, and damage, in some cases filing a claim may not make financial sense.

  • Initiate the claim with the insurer on the behalf of the business and continue helping out the business through the claim process when the need arises

  • File all necessary paperwork with the insurer and maintain communication channels with the adjuster assigned to the case

How Long Do I Have to File a Commercial Auto Insurance Claim in Texas?

The statute of limitations for bodily injuries and property damage in car accident claims in Texas is 2 years.

What Happens after I File a Claim with my Commercial Auto Insurance Company in Texas?

After a commercial auto insurance claim is filed in Texas, the following happens:

  1. The insurer has a maximum of 15 days to notify the business that the commercial auto insurance claims have been received. They will also contact the business representative if there is a need for further information

  2. The insurer will examine the claim

  3. The insurer will send a notice either approving the claim, denying the claim, requesting more information, or more time to examine the claim. If the claim is denied, the insurer must state the reasons for the denial. If approved, the insurer must issue a check no later than 5 days after a notice is sent. If they miss the payment deadline, an insured business might be entitled to interest rates and attorney fees. On the other hand, if the damage to the commercial vehicle is caused by fire and the insurer suspects arson, they have 30 days to send a notice clearly stating their suspicions. If the insurer needs more time to assess the claims, they can request a 45-day extension to assess the claims and convey a decision

How Do Commercial Auto Insurance Companies Pay Out Claims in Texas?

Commercial auto insurance companies in Texas pay out claims via checks, or ACH transfers depending on the methods stipulated in the policy contract.

Can a Commercial Auto Insurance Company Refuse to Pay a Claim?

Yes. A commercial auto insurance company in Texas can refuse to pay claims if there are suspicions of fraud or if the damages to the commercial automobile are not covered by the policy.

Why Do Commercial Auto Insurance Companies Deny Insurance Claims?

Commercial auto insurance policies in Texas typically provide coverage to automobiles used for business activities. An insurer will deny a claim on an insured commercial vehicle for any of the following reasons:

  1. If the damage is not a result of the intended use of the business vehicle

  2. If an insurer suspects fraud or arson, it will deny a claim. Some common frauds that cause insurers to deny a commercial auto insurance claim include:

    1. Intentionally providing false information while filing the claims sheet

    2. Inflating the cost of claims

  3. If the cause of damage to a commercial vehicle is not covered by the policy, the insurer will deny claims

  4. An insurer will not pay for damages to a commercial automobile if the insurance policy has lapsed

  5. Insurers have the right to turn down filed claims if the business has outstanding premiums. Thus, it is pertinent to pay insurance premiums on time to avoid being exposed to financial losses from the occurrence of a covered event.

How Much Does Commercial Auto Insurance Pay Out?

A commercial auto insurance policy in Texas pays out, subject to the purchased coverage limits, enough to put the insured business into the same state as it was before the covered loss, minus the agreed upon deductible. For example, if the insured stolen tractor trailer has a comprehensive deductible of $1,000, and it was insured using the replacement cost value, the business is guaranteed to get paid enough to purchase a direct tractor trailer replacement, minus the $1,000 that will have to come from the insured business.

Liability commercial auto coverage does not have a deductible, so it pays up to the purchased limits if the insured business vehicle is at fault. The minimum legal-to-drive liability limit is set by the state of Texas at $30,000 for bodily injury per person, up to $60,000 total per accident, and $25,000 in property damages. The upper limit of commercial liability coverage and the possible payout are determined by the business needs and frequently go into millions of dollars per covered accident.

Note: If the liability coverage is exhausted, business umbrella liability coverage may step in, to protect the business’ other assets from being lost in lawsuits.

What if my Commercial Auto Insurance isn’t Paying Enough for my Claim?

Like all insurance, commercial auto insurance is meant to put the party that suffered a covered loss into the same position they were in before the event occurred, subject to the purchased policy limits and deductibles. If the insured business or someone who got hurt by the insured vehicle is not getting enough coverage for their claim, at first speak with the assigned adjuster to find out why and to check what other options you may have.

If you feel like the claim is being unfairly denied, you can contact the Texas Department of Insurance online complaint system, or call the helpline at (800) 252-3439 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time.

How Long Can a Commercial Auto Insurance Company Investigate a Claim in Texas?

Commercial auto insurance providers in Texas have 15 days to notify claimants of the receipt of their requests. After that, they must convey a decision in 15 days to approve, deny, request more information regarding the claims, or request more time to investigate the claims. The insurer can also request a maximum investigation timeline of 45 days to probe claims further.

How Can I Check the Status of my Commercial Auto Insurance Claim?

To check the status of a filed commercial auto insurance claim in Texas, business representatives can:

  • Contact the commercial auto insurance agent who sold you the policy and/or filed the original claim with the insurer, who can look into the status and possibly help expedite the claim payout

  • Contact the insurance company’s claims department to enquire about the claim’s status via telephone, a dedicated online portal, or a mobile application provided by the insurer

  • Contact the insurance adjuster, if one was already assigned to the claim

When not to File a Commercial Auto Insurance Claim?

An insured business should not file a commercial auto insurance claim in Texas if the damages to the commercial vehicle are not covered by the policy or if the deductible is higher than the expected payout amount. Business representatives of an insured business should discuss with a licensed commercial insurance agent or an attorney practicing insurance law to ascertain the validity of a claim before filing it.