If I am sued, can my insurance company settle the case without my consent?

Under most types of liability insurance, the insurance company has the contractual right to settle or defend the case as it sees fit. You normally will have an opportunity to provide input, but the company typically has no obligation to get your consent or approval. A common exception to this involves professional liability policies, such as medical malpractice or architects errors and omissions coverage, under which consent of the insured usually is required for any settlement.

In cases where some claims are covered and others are not, the insurer can settle only the covered claims. If the insurer does this, its duty to defend you terminates. It will no longer pay for the lawyer that it appointed for you. Similarly, if the plaintiff is claiming damages that exceed the limits of your policy, the insurer can pay the policy limits to the plaintiff and terminate its defense. In either case, you will either have to pay the lawyer the insurance company appointed for you to continue representing you or find your own lawyer.