Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance policies are intended to provide peace of mind in the event of a loss. We purchase particular insurance to ensure that if our families, our property, or our businesses are harmed, that insurance policy can be relied upon to pay for these losses and make us whole. In the midst of unexpected tragedy or misfortune, an insurance policy will allow us to concentrate on other aspects of recovery as the insurance carrier steps in to ease the financial consequences as promised under the policy.
Policy holders pay insurance premiums expecting that if they actually need to file a claim, the insurance company will come through and cover them for the full value of the claim. Whether harm is caused by catastrophic events such as fires, natural disasters, auto accidents, or disabling injuries, we reasonably expect the insurance policy we have purchased to operate just as it said it would. This is true with all types of insurance, including homeowners insurance, property insurance, car insurance, and business owners insurance.
If you or your property is damaged or harmed, and the insurance company engages in unreasonable delay or wrongly refuses to cover the full claim as promised in the policy, the insurer’s conduct can amount to what is termed as “insurance bad faith” or insurance fraud. An insurance policy is literally a contract between the insured and the insurer. When the insurance company acts in bad faith, it breaches the contract. Insurance bad faith describes the mistreatment of consumers and businesses by insurance carriers This deceit or unfair dealing can occur in several different ways as an insurance carrier frustrates the insured’s right to receive the proper insurance benefits as stated in their policy or contract. Some common examples are:
- An insurance company denies the insured the complete benefits listed in the policy;
- An insurer attempt to unjustifiably offer less compensation than what is due under the policy;
- An insurance carrier unreasonably delays payment to an insured.
These actions can compound your problems and cause you additional stress and financial burdens. When an insurance company wrongly denies, underpays, or delays a valid claim, they are acting in bad faith and should be held accountable. Insurance policy holders have the right to demand the insurance company fulfills its obligations under the policy. In certain situations, third parties who have suffered a loss may have a claim against another party’s insurance company if the company fails to act in good faith and reach a reasonable resolution of the third party’s claim.
Bad Faith Homeowners Insurance Claims
Owning a home is expensive. Unexpected expenses are a regular occurrence. Your mortgage company requires you to carry homeowners insurance in order to close on the loan. You hope you never have to file a homeowner’s claim, but life happens. Your washer leaks and causes damage to your drywall. You sump pump malfunctions during a storm and your basement floods. You have a small fire in the kitchen and need to replace the cabinets. That’s what you have homeowners insurance for right?
Next, you call your insurance provider and file a claim. They ask you the particulars, you fill out a few forms, get estimates for the repairs and wait for the insurance adjuster to inspect your property damage.
Days pass and you haven’t heard anything from the adjuster. Was the claim approved? How much money can you expect to repair the damage? Should you schedule the repairs to be done? You call the insurance company and no one can give you an answer. There isn’t even anyone available that knows anything about your case.
Frustrated, you email someone at the company and still no response. Then, finally, you receive a certified letter saying your claim was denied, not really citing any specific clause in your policy.
You feel strongly that your claim is valid and that the adjuster was not thorough in his inspection or the insurance company did not follow through with their investigation of your claim, but now what are your options?
As a Charlottesville insurance bad faith attorney might explain, the insurance provider could be using bad faith tactics to avoid paying you a settlement.
So, What Should You Do Next?
Your next call should be to the right Charlottesville insurance bad faith attorneys that handle cases involving insurance companies that practice bad faith tactics. As insurance bad faith attorneys in Charlottesville, we are well versed in the many excuses insurance companies use to get out of settling claims. A meeting with one of our lawyers can help determine the steps you need to take to get your claim paid.
Examples of Bad Faith Maneuvers Used by Insurance Companies and Adjusters
Bad faith practices are defined at the state level. Not only does the insurance company have to be guilty of one of these acts, but it also has to be proven the insurer was aware and purposely disregarded the fact that their behavior was untenable. The following are some of the most common cases our Charlottesville insurance bad faith attorneys handle.
Unnecessarily Long Delays
Insurance companies like to take their time in processing your claim with the hopes that you will give up and stop going after the claim. There are state deadlines that the insurance companies must comply with when deciding whether to deny or accept a claim, usually from two weeks to two months.
Not Conducting a Thorough Investigation
Your insurance policy states an implied duty of fair dealing and good faith. This means the insurance company must execute a complete and timely investigation
If your insurance provider does not give you the necessary forms to complete in a timely manner, they may claim you missed the filing deadline. They may also claim you do not have the appropriate coverage to cover the claim.
Low Settlement Offered
The insurance company offers you a settlement that is far below what the claim is worth. They attempt to do this to pay out less than is necessary hoping you will settle for the lesser amount and close out the claim. As the experienced Charlottesville insurance bad faith attorneys might explain to you, this is one of the leading causes for bad faith claims.
If you believe you have been the victim of bad faith insurance practices, please contact the insurance bad faith attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. at (434) 817-3100 and ask for Robert E. Byrne, Jr. or Jonathan T. Wren. Our qualified bad faith insurance attorneys will listen to your concerns, examine the situation, and fight for maximum compensation. Bad faith insurance lawsuits can be confusing and complex. Let the experienced and assertive attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. help you receive the full compensation you were promised.