We all know that floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and theft happen. These events can cause significant damage to a home or a business. We hope they never happen to us, but life doesn’t come with guarantees. That’s why we depend on insurance companies for protection. When you insure your home, property or business, you are purchasing a guarantee that the insurance company will pay your claim should the unexpected happen. You make a payment based on the “good faith” that the insurance company will honor its contract and pay for damages incurred in the event of injury, theft, or damage.
Insurance companies spend millions advertising that they are “good neighbors” who will give us a “hand” in our time of need. An insurance company that is acting in good faith is one who honors its contract and provides a reasonably prompt response after a claim is made.
Signs that an insurance company is acting in good faith:
- Claims are paid or denied within a reasonably prompt period of time.
- If your claim is denied, the insurance company provides a written letter which specifies each contract term or provision on which the denial is based.
- There is a process by which denials can be appealed.
- The insurance company looks for reasons to pay your claim rather than reasons to deny it.
- The insurance company gives clear instructions as to what you must do to get compensation for your claim.
- The insurance agent returns all phone calls and replies to all letters.
Sometimes insurance companies seem to be more concerned with protecting their profits than honoring their insurance contracts. When this occurs, the insurance company may be acting in bad faith. Bad faith insurance companies seek reasons to deny benefits to policyholders, rather than pay claims as they should.
Signs that an insurance company is acting in bad faith:
- Claims are unreasonably denied or no reason is given for denial.
- Claims are neither paid nor denied within a reasonable period of time.
- The insurance company insists on an investigation before payment is made.
- Claims are not investigated.
- Claims are delayed or the agent uses stall tactics.
- The insurance company refuses to settle a case or reimburse for full damages even when liability is clear.
- The insurance company offers a settlement that is substantially less than the true value of the claim.
- There is no process by which denials can be appealed.
- The insurance company uses unreasonable or unusual interpretations of the policy language.
If your insurance company is acting in bad faith or you have been denied insurance coverage, you have the legal right to sue your insurer for the benefits that should have been covered by your policy. You also have the right to claim compensation for any losses or damages caused by the insurance company’s bad faith as well as reimbursement for your legal expenses.
Call The Voss Law Firm, P.C.
Not every denial is an example of bad faith. If you have questions about your insurance claim, contact The Voss Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with a first-party insurance claims attorney. To learn more about bad faith and first-party insurance claims, download our free book, Disputes With Your Insurance Company - What All Consumers Need to Know.
The Voss Law Firm provides a full range of legal services to businesses, property owners, and individuals in Texas and around the world. We handle insurance litigation cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that if you win, you pay a percentage of your settlement. If you lose, you pay nothing. To schedule a free confidential consultation, contact Voss Law Firm at 1-888-614-7730.