What is Reservation Of Rights Letter
A reservation of rights letter is provided to the insured party indicating that a claim may not be covered under the policy. Reservations of rights letters do not deny a claim; instead, the letter indicates that the insurer is investigating the claim and reserves the right to deny the claim after it completes its investigation.
BREAKING DOWN Reservation Of Rights Letter
Insurers that issue a reservation of rights letter may ultimately deny a claim, or they may decide to defend the insured against a claim made against it. In order to get a better understanding of what happened, the insurer must conduct its own investigation. The notice that it intends on conducting an investigation is the reservation of rights letter. These letters are required because when an insurer receives a claims notice, it contains only a small amount of information as to what happened, what caused the damages, and who was responsible.
Receiving the letter serves as an indicator to the insured that the claim may be denied, or that the information provided in the original claim triggered questions that need further evaluation. For example, the claim may be incomplete, or may contain contradictory information.
Insurance companies send reservation of rights letters because not doing so could be considered a waiver of their rights at a later time. Most of the time, reservation of rights letters appear as generic form letters. However, they should not be taken lightly. At the very minimum, anyone who receives one should contact their insurance company to see why they think the claim may not be covered. Often, they will tell you that they are just covering their bases.
Even though an insurer may send a reservation of rights letter, it is still responsible for replying to lawsuits associated with a claim while it conducts its investigation. Insurers send the letter in order to indicate that they are reserving their rights, since failing to send the letter can be considered a waiving of rights.
Information in a Reservation of Rights Letter
The reservation of rights letter contains specific information about the claim, including the policy in question, the claim made against the policy, and the part of the claim that may not be covered. Insured parties that receive a reservation of rights letter should contact their insurer to find out more information about the claim and the investigation process. The insurer may provide some initial information as to what aspects of the claim it is investigating. The insured party may consider contacting an attorney if it seems like the insurer intends on denying the claim.