It’s an unfortunate reality: insurance companies don’t always play by the rules.
When you engage in a contractual relationship with an insurance company, you give them money in exchange for insurance coverage for your property, person, or other assets. At its very core, insurance coverage is intended to protect you from sudden losses that you don’t have control over.
When unforeseen losses do occur, and when you have adequate, active insurance coverage that applies to those losses, you should be swiftly compensated according to the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.
However, this doesn’t always happen. Because insurance companies are profit-driven and staffed with money-motivated executives, the decisions they make regarding claim approvals, payouts, and conflict resolutions don’t always prioritize the insured. Any time an insurance company goes against their contractual obligations to treat their customers fairly and justly, it can be said that they are acting in ‘Bad Faith’.
Bad faith insurance practices are sadly all-too-common. What’s more, most victims of this kind of treatment don’t think they have any recourse. They often think, “Well, the insurance company made this decision, and I have to live with it.” This is false. You don’t have to bow to the strongarm tactics of insurance companies when they act in bad faith, no matter how big they are.
In this article, the consumer law team at Matthew R. Osborne, PC is detailing four of the most common examples of insurance company bad faith practices. And, we’ll be sharing some information related to what you can do if you find yourself the victim of such practices.
Bad Faith Practice Example #1: Making You Wait. And Wait.
As big and sophisticated as insurance companies can be, it’s amazing how long they can take to execute action on a claim. Sadly, this is actually a tactic they use in the hopes of getting you to simply give up on your claim.
When an insurance company intentionally drags their feet by stalling an investigation, not responding to your phone calls or emails, or drawing out a claim process by months or even years, this is a clear-cut case of bad faith.
Bad Faith Practice Example #2: Failing to Conduct a Proper Investigation
Picture this: a parked car receives damage due to vandalism. The insured contacts their insurance company and files a claim. Without visiting the vehicle to inspect the damage, the insurance company decides to deny the claim stating that the damage was preexisting.
Any time an insurance company skirts their responsibility to perform a thorough investigation, it’s a bad faith practice.
Bad Faith Practice Example #3: Making Threats (However Veiled)
Insurance companies really, really don’t like losing money. And, the biggest expense for them is the compensation they are contractually bound to pay against losses incurred by their insured customers.
One of the tactics they’ll often use to avoid losing money is to make threats in an attempt to bully their customers into compliance.
Do not be intimidated if this happens to you. Instead, document everything, and hire a consumer law attorney immediately to represent your interests in court.
Bad Faith Practice Example #4: Underpaying a Claim
You deserve fair and just compensation when the time comes to receive a payment for a covered loss.
But, because the profit motive for insurance companies is so strong, a claim payout doesn’t always match the actual loss. Often, the insurance company hopes that you won’t notice, or if you do notice, that you won’t do anything about it.
Remember that you always have options when dealing with this kind of bad faith insurance practice. You deserve every penny of the compensation you’re owed for the losses you incurred. Do not settle for a lowball offer if you genuinely think you are owed more than the insurance company is saying they’ll pay you.
Take Action Against Bad Faith Practices
When consumers’ rights are infringed by the dubious practices of insurance companies acting in bad faith, victims don’t have to take the abuse. There are actions you can take to defend your rights and receive the treatment and compensation you deserve. No one should be pushed around by insurance companies just because they want to save money.
If you believe you are a victim of any of the above-listed examples of bad faith insurance practices, you might have a legal case against your insurance company.
To learn more about what your legal options are, contact the consumer law team at Matthew R. Osborne, PC, today.