What is Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance bad faith is a uniquely American problem. Under the law, insurance companies are supposed to provide coverage for their customers when a situation meets the criteria in their policy.
An insurance company acts in good faith when they honor the terms of the policy, conduct an investigation, and reach a decision (and settlement) in a timely manner. A company acting in insurance bad faith may cut off communication or refuse to investigate, among other signs.
What are the Signs of Insurance Bad Faith?
When you recognize the signs of insurance bad faith, you’re better equipped to report it and act as quickly as possible. If you see any of these signs when talking to the insurance companies, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
The first and most obvious sign of insurance bad faith is a lack of communication. If you can’t contact the insurance company, if you called their office and were put on hold for hours or if an adjuster won’t return your calls, you should be concerned. You should also be wary of insurance adjusters who either frequently reschedule or who want to reschedule several weeks past the original date.
Whether it’s a serious car crash or a house fire, every insurance claim should have an investigation. The insurance company needs to appraise the lost value and examine the damages. If they don’t, it could be a warning sign of insurance bad faith.
Bad Interpretation of Policy
Insurance contracts are written by attorneys skilled in the legal language. That can make policies difficult to understand. However, if you suspect an insurance adjustor is misinterpreting or twisting the language of the policy to avoid a payout, you should contact an attorney immediately.
If you agree on an amount with the insurance company and don’t receive a check after several months, that could be a sign of insurance bad faith. It could mean that either the insurance company delayed payment or even that they never processed it at all. If you’re unable to get in touch with the insurance company regarding payment, you should contact an attorney immediately.
How Can You Fight Insurance Bad Faith?
If you suspect a company is acting in insurance bad faith, the best thing you can do is collect evidence. Keep documentation of any phone calls or emails you send to the insurance company.
Create verifiable logs and take screenshots from your phone. These will demonstrate what number you called and on what days. You should also make copies of any emails you sent and those you received.
If you suspect misinterpretation of policy, ask for documentation of the denial. You might even request that a supervisor evaluate the claim.
How an Attorney Can Help
Remember that every insurance agency has its own attorneys ready to defend the company and its policies. If you suspect a company is acting in insurance bad faith, you need someone who speaks the legal language and who isn’t afraid to go against the insurance company’s attorneys. Whether an insurance adjuster won’t return your calls or you haven’t received payment, do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney if you suspect a case of insurance bad faith.
If you suspect your insurance company is acting in bad faith, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Clarksville personal injury lawyer from Pete Olson Injury Attorneys, please send us an email or call (877) 438-7383.