Insurance Company Acting In Bad Faith
Insurance is meant to give us peace of mind—to ensure that if an unexpected loss occurs, it will be paid for. But if you think of your insurance carriers as partners who are on your side—regardless of what the commercials tell you—you could be in for a rude awakening when the time comes that you have to submit a claim for a loss. You might sadly discover that the company that’s been cashing your premium checks for years is not on your side and you’re not in good hands. Insurers do not make the huge profits they report every year by falling all over themselves to pay claims.
Every claim paid cuts into their profits, so it would be unrealistic to expect them to pay with a smile. Every insurance company will look closely at each claim they receive and try to find a reason not to pay it. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is being unethical; it’s good business to be careful and only pay those claims which are valid. But sometimes, insurers go beyond what can be considered prudent examination of claims for validity, and can try to trump up reasons not to pay a claim that is clearly valid. If this has happened to you, you may be a victim of insurance company bad faith.
Fortunately, you are not powerless against the insurer, regardless of its wealth and size. If your claim is valid, the law will be on your side, and having a highly skilled insurance bad faith attorney working for you can give you the power to stand up to corporate insurance giants, with their trained adjusters and legal teams, and make them do the right thing.
How Do You Know Your Insurance Company is Acting in Bad Faith?
Insurance companies have a legal, contractual obligation to pay valid claims in a reasonably prompt manner. If your claim is not getting the attention it deserves within a reasonable time, and if the insurer appears to be engaging in stall tactics or attempting to disregard, deny, or diminish the value of a claim that is clearly on the up and up, it may be time to talk to an insurance bad faith attorney.
The insurance company may be acting in bad faith if they deliberately and without good reason fail to handle your claim in a timely manner, or if they swamp you with redundant paperwork, over-the-top investigations of matters already investigated, refuse to offer a settlement, or attempt to lowball your claim. An insurance company acting in good faith accepts, processes, and promptly pays claims for genuine losses; Bad faith insurers look for any possible excuse to avoid paying or to browbeat you into accepting a payout way below the value of the claim.
If your insurance company appears to be using any of the tactics listed here, a bad faith claim may be in order:
- Failing to acknowledge receipt of your claim
- Failing to complete the investigation of your claim promptly, using the information available
- Failing to confirm or deny your coverage upon receiving notification and proof of your loss
- Failing to evaluate your damages in a timely manner and make a reasonable settlement offer
- Offering a settlement substantially less than the amount of your loss
- Intentionally misinterpreting the language of your policy to deny coverage
- Failing to provide you with accurate information about your coverage and benefits
- Advising you against hiring a lawyer
- Withholding their claims manual from your lawyer
- Trying to shift the blame from their insured onto you when you are clearly not at fault
- Attempting to deliberately misconstrue the law to the company’s benefit and your detriment
- Demanding redundant proof of your loss when it has already been provided
- Taking too long to investigate
- Claiming to be in the process of investigating and doing nothing
- Increasing your premium when you were shown not to be at fault for the accident
- Attempting to intimidate you not to file a claim
The Help You Need When Your Insurance Company is Acting in Bad Faith
These and other tactics may indicate an unscrupulous insurance company acting in bad faith to avoid paying your claim. With the help of a skilled insurance bad faith attorney, such as the legal team at Chaffin Luhana, you can often force your insurance company to live up to their obligations. Your attorney may be able to obtain an award that exceeds the value of your loss by demanding punitive damages as well as compensatory ones.
If your insurance company is balking about paying your valid claim, contact Chaffin Luhana to arrange your free case consultation. You’ve been paying premiums for years; get the payout you have coming to you. Make the company do right by you and deter this kind of behavior for the benefit of other future claimants. Call today.