(I am NOT United Automobile Insurance Company (UAIC). I make personal injury claims against them.)
When I think of United, I generally don’t get a good feeling. In a moment, I’ll explain why.
Don’t confuse United Automobile Insurance Company with USAA (United Services Automobile Association). USAA is much better than United Auto when paying personal injury claims.
United is as bad as it gets when it comes to denying, delaying and defending personal injury claims.
Below, I’ll share some of my thoughts on why United is one of the worst car insurers. I will also share a few positive things about United.
It’s hard to reach adjusters at United Automobile Insurance Company
What good is an auto insurance company if you can’t get the claims adjuster on the phone?
You can expect to have a really tough time getting a United adjuster on the phone. United Auto must be understaffed. This is one of the tradeoffs that you can get when purchasing cheap insurance from United Auto.
Solution: If you are insured with United Auto and you cannot get a claims adjuster on the phone within a reasonable amount of time, you should contact your insurance agent and complain.
Hopefully your insurance agent will put pressure on United Auto Insurance to respond to your calls. You can also file and send a civil remedy notice to the insurer. You can also make a consumer complaint with the Florida Department of Insurance. These two things are different.
If you file a civil remedy notice, you need to send it to United Automobile Insurance for it to be effective. You should send it via certified mail return receipt and also send it by fax to 305-430-8818.
The mailing address is:
1313 North West 167th Street
Miami Gardens, FL 33169
If you file a consumer complaint, you do not need to send it to the United Automobile Insurance Company. The department of financial services will contact United Auto directly.
If your automobile was damaged after being hit by someone insured with United Automobile Insurance, you should seriously consider making a claim through your collision coverage in your auto insurance policy unless you are willing to wait to get your vehicle fixed.
United Auto Insurance Doesn’t Have 24 Hour Customer Service for Claims
If you look at United Automobile Insurance Company’s Contact page, you’ll note that you can’t report a claim 24 hours a day.
You can call UAIC to report a new claim on Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 pm EST.
For existing claims, United’s office hours are M – F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. United Auto’s phone number is (305) 940-7299.
You cannot call United Auto to report a claim on Saturday or Sunday.
United is Bad at Paying Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Claims
If you have auto insurance with United Automobile Insurance Company, then you have Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) insurance which is required if you own a car in Florida.
While UAIC may pay the first $2,500 of your hospital bill without a problem, you should expect United Auto to fight the other $7,500 of your hospital bill by arguing that you do not have an Emergency Medical Condition as required by Florida law.
United Automobile Insurance Company is much more likely to deny the remainder of your PIP claim than many other car insurers.
If you have a horrible injury, I think United Auto may pay the PIP limits as long as they do not deny your case based on a coverage defense. I discuss denying coverage more in #5 below.
Surprisingly, I have seen UAIC afford coverage to an Uber driver even though his policy was not for business use.
UAIC is also much more likely to delay and fight your claim than these other auto insurance companies. My opinion is that United Automobile Insurance is just as bad at offering fair value for personal injury claims as Imperial Fire & Casualty Insurance Company.
Solution: Your medical provider may have to file a lawsuit against United Auto to get your medical bills paid.
United is poor at paying bodily injury (personal injury) claims
Don’t expect that drivers who are insured with United Automobile Insurance to have bodily injury (“BI”) liability coverage. If their policy begins with “UAD” they likely have BI liability insurance.
If they do have BI coverage, it will be likely be a $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident policy.
This means that the most that it will pay is up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident.
Do not expect that UAIC’s insured has more than $10,000 in BI coverage from United. I have heard of United Auto having $100,000 BI policies, but I have never seen one.
Will United lowball you in your personal injury claim?
Expect UAIC to offer you a fraction of what your case is worth. So, if the settlement value of your particular injury is $5,000, United may offer you $2,000. United simply is very cheap when it comes to offering money for pain and suffering.
Do not give United a recorded statement if you are not insured by them! Giving your recorded statement to a BI claims adjuster is one of the many things that you can do that can hurt your case. As with any auto insurer, do not believe what the claims adjuster tells you, even if he or she sounds nice and charming.
A claims adjuster’s job is to settle claims. Just because United tells you that its top offer is $5,000 and that this is what your case is worth, do not take this as being true.
Solution: You may have to file a lawsuit against UAIC in order to get paid fair value for your personal injury claim. As with any other personal injury case resulting from an auto accident, you should open up an insured motorist (UM) insurance claim immediately.
United Automobile Insurance requests unnecessary documentation
The longest (ridiculously long) PIP application form that I have ever seen is that of United Automobile Insurance Company.
Last time that I saw one, I think it was 16 pages long! As a comparison, most other auto insurers have a one page application.
Often times, these other companies don’t even require you to complete it. I’m talking about auto insurance companies like GEICO, State Farm and Progressive.
Why is United’s PIP application so long?
I think they want to deter people from making claims.
United Auto probably thinks that a certain percentage of people will give up on their claims after looking at the long application. After all, who wants to spend 1 -2 hours or so completing a form.
If you make a PIP claim with United Auto, you can expect that they will make you show up in person at its office to take your Examination Under Oath.
While every auto insurance company has the right to take your Examination Under Oath, I think UAIC actually makes you show up in person more than any other insurer that I know of.
The other auto insurers that I know of will, if they take your statement at all, will take it over the phone. This is much more convenient for you. It saves you gas, time and money.
Do you have to complete United’s PIP application?
I am not aware of any authority that requires you to complete the PIP application. Thus, I would not complete the PIP application.
In the past, I’ve called the United PIP adjuster and asked them if my client needed to complete the PIP application. Sometimes they’ve said No. This saves a ton of time not having to complete that long form.
You should send United Auto a completed patient authorization that allows it to gather your medical records and bills. United should send you a patient authorization as part of its PIP package.
Bodily injury claims
If you have a personal injury claim against someone who has bodily injury liability coverage with United Auto, you can expect United to send you a long claim form.
Solution: You are under no obligation to complete this form. I strongly urge you not to complete this form.
You should send United Auto the crash report, pictures of vehicles involved, and all your medical bills and records related to the accident. Do not give United a recorded statement if you are not insured by it!
United Often Denies Coverage
In order for you to be compensated (paid) by any auto insurer in any personal injury case, there needs to be insurance coverage.
Even if the at-fault party that hits you shows the police officer — or you — a United Automobile Insurance card at the crash scene, United may still deny coverage based on a material misrepresentation.
You should expect that UAIC will do everything possible to try to deny coverage if they can find a reason to do so.
United Pays $10K of $52.5K Settlement (Bike Rider Hit by Car)
United Automobile Insurance insured a car whose driver crashed into a bicyclist in Key Biscayne, Florida. An MRI showed a compression fracture in the bicyclist’s thoracic spine (upper and mid back area).
USAA paid $10,000 in PIP benefits.
United Auto Insurance Pays $10K of $35K Settlement (Scooter Rider Hit By Car)
United Auto paid $10,000 towards the settlement. GEICO paid $25,000.
The crash happened in Miami Lakes, which borders Hialeah.
$10K Settlement with United Automobile Insurance (Pedestrian Hit By Car)
A pedestrian was walking in a crosswalk in Little Havana, Miami-Dade County, Florida. A driver of a car hit the pedestrian.
She hired me shortly after the accident. Here is a photo of her (in my office) with a sling for her shoulder injury.
As you can see from the photo, she has bruising on her left arm. Accident victims should take photos of any bruising of their arm. The victim can use this if the insurance company tries to argue that the claimant had the injury before the accident.
Specifically, her shoulder fracture was an impacted comminuted fracture of the humeral neck. There was displacement of the greater tuberosity.
Her finger fractures were nondisplaced transverse fractures of the proximal metaphysis of the proximal and distal phalanges of the thumb.
Who paid the pedestrian’s medical bills?
The pedestrian didn’t own a car. She didn’t live a relative who owned a car. Thus, she was able to get $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance benefits from the insurance company of the driver who hit her.
United Automobile Insurance insured the car that hit her. Therefore, they paid $10,000 directly to her medical providers for her medical bills. This left her owing very little in medical bills.
Additionally, United Auto Insurance Company insured the at fault driver with a $10,000 BIL insurance policy. United Auto paid us the $10,000 BIL limits to settle her personal injury claim.
The settlement check is below:
She was very happy with her portion of the settlement. After my attorney’s fees, she received almost the entire settlement. Here is a picture of us after gave her the settlement check:
Unfortunately, the driver wasn’t driving for Uber or Lyft that would have given him more insurance coverage. Our client didn’t own a car or live with relatives. Thus, she wasn’t entitled to uninsured motorist insurance.
$10K Settlement with UAIC for Pedestrian Hit By Car in Miami (Head Injury)
A pedestrian was walking in a crosswalk in Little Havana, Miami-Dade County, Florida. A driver of a car hit him.
An ambulance took him from the accident scene to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a head injury. A doctors used stitches for the cut on his head.
United Auto Insurance Company insured the at fault driver with a $10,000 BIL insurance policy. United Auto paid us the $10,000 BIL limits to settle his personal injury claim.
Unfortunately, the driver wasn’t driving for Uber or Lyft that would have given him more insurance coverage. Our client didn’t own a car or live with relatives. Thus, he wasn’t entitled to uninsured motorist insurance.
$10K Settlement with United Automobile Insurance for Scooter Rider Hit By Car
A man was riding his scooter on 5th Street and Alton Road in Miami Beach, Florida. The driver of the car was cited for running a steady red light.
The crash ejected the rider from his moped. He landed on his right shoulder and rolled onto his left knee.
UAIC insured the driver who ran the red light. The at fault driver’s policy only had $10,000 in BI liability insurance.
The scooter was uninsured. The scooter rider had uninsured motorist insurance on his car, but is was nonstacking. It didn’t cover him for this wreck.
The scooter rider suffered scratches and bruises. He was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital by Miami Beach Fire Rescue.
At Mount Sinai Hospital, he was diagnosed with a right dislocated shoulder.
He was unable to put his arm down. His pain was noted as being a 7/10.
He had abrasions (scrapes) on his left arm, left cheek and left knee. The doctor prescribed him Percocet, which contains an opioid pain medication.
He was told to keep a sling and swathe on his shoulder. X-rays were taken of his shoulder.
About 2 months later, a doctor stated that he had a concussion. He healed very well.
United Auto paid its insured’s $10,000 BI limits to settle the moped rider’s BI claim. I represented the moped rider.
United Auto Settles Small Leg Scar Claim for $5K
See a claim where United Auto paid $5,000 to a driver of a car who was left with 2 small scars to his knee. A car T-boned him in an intersection in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
United Auto Pays $5K to Settle Soft Tissue Injury Case
United Auto Insurance Company insured a driver, Sam, who T-boned another driver (Aron; not real name) in an intersection.
A Miami-Dade police officer came to the accident scene. Sam took an ambulance to the hospital due to chest pain.
However, Aron didn’t complain of any injuries or pain to the police officer. Aron went to the hospital.
Aron had a contusion (bruise) to his knee and forearm. He had superficial abrasions (scrapes) to his knee.
He was told that his injuries should go away quickly. I took a photo of a scar on Aron’s leg.
I sent a photo of the scar, and Aron’s medical records/bills to UAIC. United paid $5,000 to settle Aron’s personal injury case. I represented Aron.
If United Auto Accuses You of Fraud in Your Insurance Claim, The Court Must Look at the Insurance Policy
This isn’t my case. In Ricardo v. United Auto. Ins. Co., App. 3 Dist., 869 So.2d 1256 (2004), Ricardo was involved in a one-car accident in the insured automobile.
However, due to the fact that a woman other than his wife was in the car at the time of the accident, Ricardo initially reported that the car was stolen. (This would’ve been covered under the comprehensive coverage in his insurance policy.)
The true facts of the accident later came to light. Ricardo eventually pled guilty to making a false insurance claim.
Later, Ricardo sought coverage under the “collision” portion of the policy, which United rejected. Ricardo sued.
The court said that the language in the auto policy would determine if coverage exists. Coverage would depend on which type of anti-fraud provision was in the policy. The three different types are:
(1) those that state that any misrepresentation will void the entire policy;
(2) those that state that any misrepresentation as to a particular coverage voids coverage under that part; and
(3) those that neither reference the “entire policy” nor “this coverage part.”
Obviously, it is best not to lie.
Jury Awards $5.2 million (United Auto Acted in Bad Faith)
This isn’t my case. In United Auto. Ins. Co. v. Estate of Levine, 87 So.3d 782 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.2011), a jury found that UAIC was liable for bad faith.
In December 2001, UAIC’s insured, Jose Hernandez, drove his flatbed truck into an automobile driven by Steven D. Levine.
Thus, the jury concluded that United Auto acted in bad faith. The total judgment was for $5.2 million.
(The BI policy limits were $10,000 per person.)
Which United Auto Insurance Adjuster Have I Had Claims With?
I’ve settled personal injury claims with many United Auto Insurance adjusters. I’ve dealt with the BI liability claims manager, Carlos Reina, many times.
What’s the Bottom Line?
UAIC is very bad in terms of making fair offers to settle soft tissue injury claims. However, if settlement value of the case is clearly worth much more than the bodily injury coverage, they generally pay the limits quickly.
Moreover, there are over. Thus, it is very difficult to estimate the value of a car accident case. This remains true when United Auto is the liability insurer. To calculate value, an attorney needs to know all of the particulars of a case.
Check out some of my other Florida car accident settlements.
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Editor’s Note: In May 2013, I originally published this article. I have completely revamped and updated it.