Marissa Hayes

Insurance Writer & Expert

Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.

Insurance Writer & Expert

Daniel Walker

Licensed Insurance Agent

Daniel Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has run his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for over 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an insurance agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, life, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. To ensure our content is accura...

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 4, 2023

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The short answer is yes, your insurance company has an obligation to defend you if you are sued, provided you have liability insurance. However, they can avoid involvement if there is not adequate coverage on your part, which is why it is vital for any driver to fully understand what is included when they purchase an insurance policy. This includes representation as well as a fair claims process.

Should you have the right amount of protection, they will send a lawyer and pay for his services if you need to go to court. There are some exceptions to the rule, and we will cover them below.

What are the details of representation from your insurance company?

All the legal expenses have to be approved by the insurance company. If the court’s decision is to reject your defense, the insurance company is not obliged to pay for any claim that is not covered by your policy. If there is a plan to file a counter suit, your insurance company is no longer obligated to pay for lawyer’s fees.

There are a few reasons why an insurance provider would not provide this service, one of which is in a situation where you didn’t inform them of the accident. Always be honest with your provider, and give them pertinent information as soon as you can. Take the time to notate details, and give them anything that will help your case.

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What terms should you look for in your insurance policy?

Within the insurance industry, there are certain details and clauses that may not be as well known as others. Most drivers know that liability will cover medical bills, injuries and property damage with an at-fault accident, and that collision coverage will help repair the vehicle involved.

However, there is more to your policy than you may first think. Representation is covered by a few clauses. There is the “Duty to Defend” clause, as well as the “Duty to Indemnify” clause. Your provider has a duty to defend you in the event of a court case, and if the court finds you liable for damages, the insurance company will pay the amount that the court has assessed as just.

In Summary

Before a case goes to court, you have to expect that your insurance company will investigate the claim and may push for a settlement instead. Should it extend to a court case, understanding what they will offer in terms of settlement aid can provide you with peace of mind, and help you get through what could otherwise be a stressful event.