Auto insurance claims denied for dozens of Tennesseans

On average a Tennessean pays $1,200 for auto insurance a year in the hopes it will help them when they get in a crash. But what happens when it doesn't?
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 9:00 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - On average a Tennessean pays $1,200 for auto insurance each year.

You buy it in the hopes they will help you when you get in a crash. But what happens when it doesn’t?

That’s what happened with a specific insurance company and a growing number of unfixed cars in Middle Tennessee.

Customers said they buy Direct Auto Insurance because it’s affordable and works for them. That’s until they get in an accident, and they said no one is there to help.

When a crash totaled her silver sedan, owner Mikaela Thompson turned to her insurance company.

“This whole situation, once I do have an issue, they just don’t help me,” she said. “I’ve kind of accepted I made a bad decision with insurance and it’s kind of the price I am paying for it.”

Thompson is talking about Direct Auto Insurance. She went with them when she bought her car at Ride and Drive LLC in Dickson. Lizzo LaMay, who works at the dealership, helped with Thompson’s purchase. She said she told customers to use Direct Auto for 16 years, but not anymore.

“In the last six months we’ve gotten over 30 claims that are sitting at several lots,” LaMay said.

One of those lots is in Madison. She said because the dealership holds the titles, they want to get the issues resolved. But even she said she has trouble getting a straight answer on why claims are being denied.

LaMay said Direct will go through a list of items on why they are denying coverage: the customer wasn’t a policy holder, they need a lien holder, or the customer didn’t want the right policy.

“It’s the same two or three items with over 20 cases,” LaMay said.

WSMV4 contacted Direct Auto Insurance specifically about Thompson’s case. In a statement, Direct Auto Insurance said:

“Direct Auto does not deny claims because a lien is not provided. We address the individual claims according to our customers’ policies and they were denied after a thorough review.” – Allstate Media Team

With no help from Direct, LaMay worked out a deal with Thompson on another car she’s paying off.

“I had to do something I wasn’t supposed to be able to do,” LaMay said. “The insurance should have done it, instead, I had to, and had I not done it, I don’t know where this girl would be at, honestly.”

Thompson said she’s grateful, but she wants her experience to guide others.

“It would be nice for other people to know, like first-time car buyers,” she said.

WSMV4 asked the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance if people have filed complaints with them about Direct Auto Insurance. The department couldn’t provide that data because it’s confidential.

If you find yourself battling with your insurance company over a claim, you can file a complaint with the state, who may be able to help mediate.

Click for information on how to file a complaint with the Department of Commerce and Insurance.