Insurance stress can make a bad situation much worse. Unfortunately, insurance companies contribute to this stress by participating in “bad faith” insurance practices. These practices occur when a provider fails to uphold its express and implied duties to the insured in an attempt to renege on obligations to clients. This may be an attempt to either deny a legitimate claim or failure to thoroughly and properly investigate the claim in a timely manner.
Do you think you are a victim of insurance bad faith? Check out these 5 signs your insurance provider could be participating in “bad faith” practices.
1. Denial of a Legitimate Claim
Insurance companies are legally permitted to deny claims. If your claim has been denied for a non-legitimate reason, this may be a sign of an insurance bad faith company. An insurance company caught acting in bad faith may be required to pay you even more money than it originally owed under your policy. If your insurance provider has given you no reason for denial or the supposed reason does not make sense, you should consult with an attorney who has experience dealing with insurance bad faith.
Similarly, if your insurance company has highlighted a complex section of your policy as a means to explain away your denial, talking to an experienced attorney can help you understand what your next steps are. You do not have to blindly accept the denial if it does not make sense to you.
2. Failing to Conduct a Thorough and Proper Investigation
Have you noticed your insurance company failing to actively investigate? This is a common tactic providers use when engaging in bad faith practices. The company either does not investigate at all, or they perform a poor, superficial investigation to appear to just be "checking the boxes." You should contact an attorney if you notice your insurance provider engaging in any of these signs of a phony investigation:
- Failure to conduct an assessment in a reasonable period of time
- Continuously delaying or failing to follow up with the investigation
- Little to no scrutiny or questions about certain aspects of your claim
- Being non-communicative with relevant parties involved
If your insurance company fails to do its part by conducting a thorough and proper investigation, get a bad faith insurance lawyer on your side as soon as possible. Knowing your options and getting ahead of the relevant statute of limitations is essential to halting fraudulent insurance activity in its tracks.
3. Delaying Payments or Offering Low-Ball Settlements
Insurance companies sometimes try to delay payment because unpaid money earns interest for the insurance company. Once payment is made, the interest stops. Bad faith companies hold the money as long as possible to continue making a profit from it. If this is happening to you, contact our experienced insurance lawyers to get the compensation you deserve in a timely manner.
Insurance companies also might be delaying payment to try to wear you down so you will accept less on your claim. Your bills, stress, and overall discomfort all compound over time. Insurance companies bet on claimant desperation and offer ridiculously low settlements in the misguided hope that bills and stress have made the claimant desperate — for any sum, as quickly as possible, and often considerably less than deserved.
Have you received a ridiculously low offer? Help is available. You do not have to take a lowball settlement offer that fails to even cover your medical bills — not to mention the emotional costs and other damages. Get a trustworthy lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
4. Misinterpreting the Law or Policy Language
Many claimants are unfamiliar with the complex and convoluted language in their insurance policies. They trust professionals to help them understand. When those professionals try to leave you high and dry by citing obscure language within your policy as a reason for denial, it can be incredibly frustrating.
Sometimes the insurance company might even twist the language to read in their favor. Providers can also misinterpret the facts, misrepresent certain aspects of the policy, use intentionally vague language, bring up clauses completely unrelated to the claim, or point to laws that no longer apply.
For example, an insurance company might make a threatening, false statement to a policyholder. The company might suggest a small and accidental error on a valid claim will land the policyholder in legal trouble for insurance fraud.
If you make a small, honest error on a claim (say the date is a day off or a number transposed), this is not insurance fraud. Your insurance company could blow the situation out of proportion, attempting to prevent you from inquiring further about your claim. They may also use this method to stop you from seeking legal representation. If your insurance company is using this tactic to engage in insurance bad faith, get a legal professional on your side.
5. Unreasonable and Unnecessary Documentation Requests
Another tactic providers might employ is requesting immense, unnecessary, and unrelated documentation from claimants. This is done to delay the claim and confuse the insured in hopes of complicating the process.
Additionally, your insurance company may try to deny your requests for documentation. You have every right to obtain copies of your policy or other coverage-related documents. Your insurance company refusing to provide you with information you are entitled to may itself be bad faith.
For More Information
Is your insurance company engaging in bad faith insurance practices? Does something feel off about the way your insurance claim is being handled? Are you unsure what step to take next?
Contact Turbak Law Office for a consultation. When bad faith is suspected, acting sooner is better. Having timelines and legal expertise on your side can be the difference between getting the compensation you deserve and continue to get the run-around from the insurance company.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Get in touch with our experienced injury and insurance lawyers today at (866) 348-4598 or contact us online!