Widow battles insurance company for truck

May 27, 2011 4:01:10 PM PDT
Fighting insurance companies is never easy, as one Houston woman is finding out firsthand. At issue is the debt protection insurance the woman says should have paid off a truck after her husband died. Ann Kilgo says her husband refinanced his truck and got debt protection that should have paid off the vehicle in the event he died. Unfortunately, he did pass away just two months later, but the truck is not paid off.

Kilgo has had a difficult few months. Kilgo says her husband Ron, who suffered from COPD, was diagnosed with cancer in September 2010 and passed away in October 2010.

Before the diagnosis, Kilgo says her husband refinanced a 2007 Nissan Frontier through USAA and took the extra step of buying debt protection, which was to pay off the truck upon his death.

But in February 2011, Kilgo says the truck was repossessed.

"So I called them and they said you have not made any payments and I said but he had an insurance policy on it and I notified you of it," she said.

The truck was returned and Kilgo thought that was the end of things until April.

"I got a letter, I think it was the 27th of April, that said they denied the coverage because of a pre-existing condition," she said.

Kilgo tells us her husband was first diagnosed with cancer after he refinanced the truck, but in a statement to us USAA says, "After a thorough review, we determined that the debt protection claim did not qualify for coverage under the terms of the plan."

USAA would not give us full details about the reason debt protection was denied. The company says Assurant Solutions adminsters the plan but Assurant Solutions would not speak to us about the decision.

USAA did tell us: "We are working to assist Mrs. Kilgo during this difficult time. ... We deferred six months worth of payments to the vehicle. ... We have no current plans to repossess the truck."

That gives Kilgo time to appeal the decision.

"They received my fax yesterday that explains that I want to appeal what they've said," Kilgo said.

USAA says Assurant Solutions will walk Kilgo through the medical records and explain in full why the denial was made.

In the meantime, consumer advocates say policy holders can take a further step if an appeal is turned down.

"In this case, the consumer can either file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance and she can also retain the services of an attorney," Houston Better Business Bureau's Monica Russo said.

Kilgo has spoken to an attorney and may go that route if need be.

One of the problems in reporting a story like this, the insurance company says it cannot detail what they have found in those medical files citing privacy concerns, but Kilgo will get that detailed analysis and be able to go forward after that.

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