Is Allstate not reimbursing you for the full amount of your claim? You have several options including filing a small claims court lawsuit against Allstate. Just because Allstate tells you they won't reimburse you for your costs, doesn't mean you have no legal options available.
What types of lawsuits can be filed against an insurance company like Allstate in small claims?
Suing Allstate and other insurance companies in small claims is common. Make sure to review your insurance policy for any requirements before filing a lawsuit.
Many types of lawsuits can be filed against an insurance company, here are some of the most common claims against Allstate:
Bad faith denial of a claim.
Failure to pay for all costs on a covered claim.
Failure to reimburse for expenses after a car accident.
Contacting Allstate Customer Service
Before escalating your conflict to a small claims lawsuit, it may be best for you to give one more attempt at getting a resolution from Allstate customer service.
Here are some ways to contact Allstate customer service:
Allstate Customer service phone number: 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828)
Allstate Twitter: @Allstate
Allstate “Contact Us” portal: Linked Here
How much can you sue Allstate for in small claims?
It depends, each state has its own limit for its state's small claims courts, and therefore it can vary depending on where you want to sue. Search your local small claims court limit to find out what the limit is. Generally, the limit will be consistent for the whole state but there are differences between states, counties, and cities.
If Allstate owes you more than the amount you can sue for, you can still sue for the maximum amount allowed, but you may need to waive any additional amount over the limit. This will depend on your local small claims court.
For example, if Allstate owes you $13,000, and you decide to sue in a small claims court where the limit is $10,000, you may be waiving the right to sue for the additional $3,000. Meaning that you will win a maximum of $10,000.
While you may be missing out on the full amount you are owed, there are practical benefits to suing in small claims instead of suing in "regular court."
Here are some of the benefits of suing in Small Claims Court instead of traditional civil court:
Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
The process tends to be faster in small claims than in other courts as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit, this estimate varies by the court so for more accurate information you can call the court clerk and ask.
Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims which helps keep the costs of suing low and even the playing field between you and the insurance company. Although this rule does vary by state, small claims court is designed to not need a lawyer, if you want to be sure that a lawyer will not be present you will have to search your court's small claims rules.
How much does it cost to file a complaint against Allstate in small claims?
The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit in small claims mainly depends on your state’s fees and the amount you are suing for. Designed to be cost-efficient, most lawsuit filings range from $30 to $75 to file the lawsuit. Given that fees vary by court and sometimes by the amount of your lawsuit, you will have to find out from your court if you want an exact cost outline. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can usually request the court to waive the fees.
Aside from filing, you will also need to notify Allstate about the lawsuit. This is called serving, Serving Costs and methods vary based on your local court. If you want to know which options are available and at what cost, contact or research your small claims court. Some of the options that may be available for serving Allstate in small claims can be:
Friend Serving - If allowed, the cost can be as little as $0, it involves having a friend or family member (it can NOT be you) serve the documents to the correct individual.
Sheriff Serving - If offered, generally costing $45 - $75, you would be paying the sheriff's department to serve the documentation on your behalf. If you are eligible for waiving of court costs, you may be able to wave the cost of sheriff serving as well.
Process Serving - If available, the cost can vary greatly but is expected around $100 - $200, in which you would be paying a professional server to take care of the serving.
If you win, you may be able to request that the losing party pay for your court fees and serving costs.
Step-By-Step Guide to filing a small claims lawsuit against Allstate
Here is a quick summary of how to file a small claims lawsuit against Allstate:
Prepare the lawsuit.
File the lawsuit.
Serve the lawsuit.
Prepare for the hearing.
Step 1: Complete the necessary small claims forms and follow your local court’s procedure
This step starts the Small Claims Court lawsuit process. Go to your court's website and identify what form or process you need so you can file a small claims lawsuit. Generally, this is done through a form that can be submitted, but in some courts, there are other procedures such as going in person and following a procedure with the small claims court clerk. To know exactly what your first step should be, refer to the website of the small claims court you will be filing in.
Here is some information you will likely need for the lawsuit:
The correct legal entity name of Allstate.
The explanation and the amount of money you are suing Allstate for.
The address and contact information of the individual you intend to serve the documents with.
Make sure to always verify this information by reviewing your state’s Secretary of State's website as this information may change.
Step 2: File the claim to Go to Small Claims Court"
Each Small Claims Court has a different procedure for filing and initiating a small claims lawsuit. First, you need to know from the court what form or process is needed to file your lawsuit. You will also need to check with your local small claims court whether they allow filing in-person, by mail, online, or by fax. Or we can file your case for you!
Step 3: Serve the lawsuit on Allstate’s agent for service of process
Remember, you will be serving Allstate’s "agent for service of process" as listed on your state's Secretary of State's website. This is the individual which Allstate has designated to receive legal documents such as a small claims lawsuit notice. Ensuring you have the correct information for this step will dictate whether the lawsuit against Allstate will be heard by the judge on your hearing date.
Make sure to always verify this information by reviewing the Secretary of State's website as this information may change.
Step 4: Prepare for the hearing
How do you win in small claims court against an insurance company such as Allstate? You must have your evidence organized and ready for the judge to review.
Here are some examples of evidence you may have in your case:
Pictures of the accident
Email from the Allstate representative you have been communicating with over your claim
Your insurance policy with Allstate
Consider filing a complaint against Allstate with your State’s Department of Insurance
You may also file a complaint against Allstate with your state’s Department of Insurance. This option is available because insurance is regulated on a state level. When you file the complaint with this department, once the complaint is filed typically an investigation will be launched against Allstate. After reviewing your evidence and complaint against Allstate, the department will reach out to Allstate for an explanation and response.
Consider filing a complaint with the BBB against Allstate
The Better Business Bureau may be able to help you with your complaint against Allstate.
What types of complaints against Allstate does the BBB handle?
The BBB handles a broad range of complaints against insurance companies. Here are some examples:
If Allstate fails to pay after a car accident.
If Allstate denies a claim in bad faith.
If Allstate does not pay for all costs on a covered claim.
Allstate is overcharging you for the premiums.
Allstate did not reimburse you after you made payments to fix your car
How to file a complaint against an insurance company with the BBB
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the button “Start Your Complaint.
Fill out all the information requested honestly and correctly
Once you are done and click submit, your complaint has been filed!
What to Expect Once you Submit your Complaint to the BBB
The BBB will forward your complaint to Allstate within 2 business days.
Allstate will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made.
You will be notified of Allstate’s response when the BBB receives it (or notified that they received no response).
Complaints against Allstate and other insurance companies are usually closed within 30 business days.
Chief Legal Architect & Co-Founder @ People Clerk. Camila is an attorney, consumer advocate, and certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.