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Can they really do this?

by bill
(fairfax, virginia)

My truck was recently stolen from in front of my old apartment complex and was later recovered. The thieves used a key to take the truck but, the key never left my possession. The truck was abandoned and the interior was slightly burned.

The insurance company told me that their forensic specialists were investigating my claim and they have had the truck for 4 weeks now.

I want to know if the insurance company can deny the claim because the people or person who stole the truck allegedly had a key. I have no idea how they got a key but the truck was not "hot wired" and the ignition is in tact.

I just moved out of the state the truck was stolen in and was not even in the state when it disappeared. I have never had a claim with the insurance company and think they are trying to find a reason to not repair the truck.

What are my options? and is this regular practice for an insurance company to keep my vehicle for so long? and basically outright accuse me of insurance fraud?

The person from the police department that is investigating the theft informed me that I would need to travel back across country to answer his questions face to face.

According to the investigator from the police department, if I do not comply with his request he would not close the case and would not eliminate me as a suspect, therefore the insurance company would not repair my vehicle because I was not "cleared" as a suspect by the police.

Is this true? Is there a limit to how long the insurance company can wait before they have to settle my claim in a timely fashion or can this go on for several more months?


Hello Bill,

I am sorry to hear that you are in this situation. It is very hard when you are the VICTIM but you get accused (or at least the imply) that you are a suspect on your own claim.

In any event, you have a duty to prove your lose. In other words, you must show that your truck was stolen and damaged. If you file a police report and they recovered the truck, then you have effectively shown that you are entitled to coverage.

Once you prove that your damages existed and that there should be coverage (which in your questions, it appears you have done), the “burden” shifts to the insurance carrier to show that there is no coverage, or that they have a defense like fraud.

Remember that with all insurance contracts, if there is ambiguity (or they cannot say either way), they must cite with you. In other words, if they cannot have evidence to say that you did it, then they must pay you, even if they cannot prove that you did not do it.

Remember that they have a duty to “advocate” for you. They have a duty to do what is in your best interest and delaying the investigation is not a way to achieve this. Remind them of their duty to you.

Can they delay. Yes they can. They have up to 30 days to conduct an investigation. If the 30 days are reached, then they have to put on writing why they are not paying and give you a clear explanation of where is the investigate at.

It sounds like the are waiting on the police to make a decision. This is common. If the police cannot find you guilty of insurance fraud, the insurance company cannot show that you did it either.

The only thing you can really do here is help as much as you can the investigation so the police either rules you out as a suspect or closes the investigation. The insurance company must make a decision after that.

Good Luck

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