The purpose of purchasing an insurance policy is so that you and your family will be protected financially should the unexpected occur. Most people who have home, auto, or other type of insurance coverage believe that if they need to make a claim, their insurance company will process it fairly and in a timely fashion since they have been a paying customer.
However, this is sometimes not the case. Insurance companies may act in their own best interests rather than acting to abide by company policy or in their clients’ best interests. Here’s what you should know about bad faith insurance, how to identify it, and what you can legally do about it.
A bad faith insurance argument is an insurance company’s attempt to withdraw its financial obligations to its clients, either by refusing to pay a legitimate insurance claim made by a policyholder or failure to neutrally investigate and process an insurance claim in a timely manner.
It’s important to note that not all denied claims are done so in bad faith. While they should be explored and appealed, the denial of a claim may be legitimate if the policy does not cover a certain type of incident or damage.
The insurance adjuster that works with you should be reasonably pleasant and can be negotiated with. However, some insurance adjusters are rude, rigid, and make clients jump through hoops to prove their cases. Unfortunately, much of this is still considered good faith negotiating.
Understanding the differences between good and bad faith arguments and learning how to identify them can be helpful when processing an insurance claim. There are many signs that your insurance company may be acting in bad faith, including but not limited to:
Anytime an insurance company acts in its own best interest or in the interest of its bottom line instead of honoring their contractual obligations to policyholders, this may be considered bad faith.
It’s important to review a delayed or denied insurance claim to determine if the insurance company is acting appropriately. While some delays are expected due to the nature of the insurance industry, and some claims are legitimately denied, you should discuss any suspicious activity from your insurance with a lawyer to evaluate the likelihood that these actions were done for the purpose of not making payments on a legitimate claim.
If you believe your insurance carrier may be acting in bad faith, there are only a couple options available to you:
If you suspect that your insurance may be acting in bad faith instead of processing your claim fairly and according to company policy, a bad faith insurance lawyer may be able to assist you. As mentioned earlier, an attorney may be able to put pressure on the insurance company to properly investigate the claim and offer an appropriate settlement without doing much more than making it known to your insurer that you are now legally represented.
However, some insurance companies will double down on a bad faith argument in hopes that the insured will back down or give up, usually because they lack the ability to pursue litigation against the company. In this case, a lawyer can help you prepare your claim for court to be reviewed by a judge, who will then decide on whether your claim is legitimate and if the insurance company should offer a settlement. At this time, the judge may award your requested settlement amount if they rule against the insurance company.
If you have submitted an insurance claim and believe that the company is delaying the reasonable processing of your claim or has denied your claim in bad faith, don’t hesitate to reach out for legal assistance. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have extensive experience working with and against insurance companies and can utilize our knowledge to protect your rights and best interests.
Contact us today to book your consultation at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.