How to Know if Your Insurance Provider is Treating You Unfairly
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Phillip Chupik with Metier Law Firm.
Insurance policies are notoriously complicated, and providers often fail to clarify things for their customers. In fact, it is not unheard of for an insurance adjuster to deny or reduce a valid claim from a policyholder in the interest of holding on to as much of the company money as possible. Whenever you find yourself dealing with an insurance company, your own or another party’s, it’s important to remember that they make money by accepting monthly premiums from their customers and holding onto as much of that as possible.
When an insurance provider treats a policyholder unfairly, this is referred to as insurance bad faith. Insurance bad faith is a serious allegation and has the potential to cause significant damage to a policyholder’s finances.
Signs that an insurance provider may be acting in bad faith include but are not necessarily limited to the following:
- Delaying or failing to respond. When an insurance adjuster takes an unreasonable amount of time to respond to a claim request or question, this could indicate that you are experiencing unfair treatment. A failure by the provider to respond at all is a serious problem and a strong indicator of bad faith.
- Arbitrary requests for evidence. Unfortunately, a common bad faith practice in insurance involves requesting arbitrary evidence from a policyholder which likely has little to do with the actual claim.
- Unreasonably low settlement. If an insurance provider offers a settlement that seems unreasonably low based on the policies you purchased, it’s important to refrain from signing anything or accepting the offer. This is one way that unscrupulous insurance providers may trick you out of receiving the full amount your claim is entitled to.
- Misinterpreted policy language. Insurance policies can be extremely difficult for the layperson to interpret, but if you suspect an adjuster is deliberately misinterpreting your policy in order to reduce or deny a claim, it’s important to contact an insurance bad faith attorney as soon as possible to get an expert’s opinion.
- Misinterpreted records. If you suspect an insurance adjuster is misinterpreting your insurance records, medical records, or other important documentation, this could be an example of bad faith. Similar to the above suggestions, if this is occurring you may need to turn to a legal insurance expert to have the misinterpretations addressed.
- Repetitive delays in payment. Just as delays in communication could indicate bad faith, repeated delays in paying your claim could also be a bad sign, even if the adjuster offers reasons to try and justify the wait. Unfortunately, these delays may be an attempt to convince you to give up pursuing the claim entirely, something that commonly happens when policyholders become discouraged enough.
- Lack of an adequate investigation. Insurance adjusters are required to investigate the situation a policyholder makes a claim for. However, a faulty or insufficient investigation could result in a denial or reduction of an otherwise valid claim. If you suspect your insurance provider is not properly investigating your claim, insurance bad faith could be at work.
Insurance providers have a responsibility to their policyholders; when they fail to adhere to that responsibility and conduct business in bad faith, the ramifications can be devastating. If you suspect an insurance provider is behaving unfairly, reach out to an insurance bad faith lawyer sooner rather than later to pursue your claim.