Challenging a Claim Denial by a Car Warranty Company
Hearing a warranty company is not willing to pay for a necessary repair is a situation everyone dreads, but often expects. At this point, one knows it will become a coverage dispute that is likely to become a drawn-out headache. These disputes are particularly stressful when the warranty at issue is for a person’s car. When someone buys a car, one aspect that is typically very appealing is the warranty that comes along with it. In fact, this feature is so important and attractive to car owners that companies offer extended warranty agreements to cover repairs once the manufacturer’s warranty expires. These warranty agreements essentially act as insurance policies in case the vehicle has mechanical or electrical issues, and given the increasing complexity of vehicle design and function, having a warranty is almost a necessity. This need becomes especially apparent if one considers that the costs of repair are constantly increasing, and the average person lacks the technical background to perform self-repairs on new car technology. Consequently, if a claim is denied, it is important to know the most effective way to respond in order to convince the insurance company the claim should be paid. Actions a person can take both individually and with a lawyer’s assistance, and important limitations on a company’s right to deny coverage under federal warranty laws, will follow below.
Look at the Policy and Recruit the Mechanic’s Help
In an ideal world, everyone would read the fine print of every contract they sign, but this rarely happens in practice. Usually, no one really looks at the terms of a contract until there is a problem. So, if the warranty company is saying it will not pay for repairs, the first thing to do is carefully read the terms of the warranty agreement to see if the specific problem falls under those things the warranty is supposed to cover. If it appears so, work with the mechanic to document all the things that needed to fixed and couch it in the same terms the warranty company uses in its contract. If the company still denies the claim after providing this detailed information, it is time to hire a lawyer to, at the very least, send a letter, demanding payment. Often, companies will cave to demands if the request comes from a lawyer, and if is this still unsuccessful, the lawyer already has a foundation to file a lawsuit.
Federal Warranty Law
One issue that often comes up for car owners is whether it is okay to take a vehicle covered by a manufacturer’s warranty to an independent car repair shop for routine maintenance and repairs. Most people assume, and some dealers may tell car owners, that all work on the vehicle must be performed at the dealer’s facilities, but this is not true. Federal warranty law says that the manufacturer cannot void a warranty or deny claims based solely on an owner using another mechanic to perform regular work. Routine maintenance includes things like oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, new brake pads, and fluid changes and flushes. Note that if the dealer can prove a repair performed by another mechanic was improper and damaged other components of the car as a result, they could have a basis to deny a claim, but the warranty would remain valid for other parts of the car.
Hire an Lawyer
Being able to rely on your car warranty to pay for repairs is an important asset, and if you believe a claim is being improperly denied, do not just settle for this decision. Talk to an lawyer who will dissect the terms of the agreement, and then advise on you on the possible legal options. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado represents clients in claim disputes and can help you with your case. Contact us today.