As a matter of law, your homeowner’s insurance company is required to treat you and your claim with good faith. An insurance policy is a contract, and all parties to a contract must perform their duties under the contract in good faith. So, how do you go about providing that your homeowner’s insurance company is acting in bad faith?
Examples of Bad Faith Conduct
Remember, it isn’t bad faith to deny a claim legitimately. There may be genuine reasons for that denial. However, there are kinds of conduct that may well constitute bad faith under Louisiana law:
- The insurer fails to respond to your inquiries
- The insurer misrepresents the terms of the policy, especially the benefits or coverage available
- The insurer refuses to settle or unreasonably delays the settlement process
- The insurer fails to investigate the claim
- The insurer fails to explain a denial of the claim
If you experience these kinds of conduct and believe the company is acting in bad faith, you will need to take steps to prove it.
Proving Bad Faith
First, you will have to prove that there is a benefit to which you are entitled under your policy that your insurer has withheld. Second, you have to prove that the decision not to provide the benefit was unreasonable or lacked good cause under the policy terms or Louisiana law.
You will want to keep records of all contacts with the insurance company, as well as copies of all filings, correspondence, and supporting documents. You may also want to try to create a timeline of your efforts to obtain recovery. Keep a diary or calendar with notes of all your contacts or attempts to contact and include substantive notes on any conversations you have.
Contact A Bad Faith Insurance Claims Attorney Right Away
Proving bad faith can be complex and burdensome. The insurance company has lawyers who handle this type of case every day and whose job is to avoid paying you. Your best course of action is to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process of dealing with a recalcitrant insurance company. Generally, this initial consultation and case review will be free.
1. Can I recover damages for bad faith in a homeowner’s insurance claim?
Yes. Under two different statutes, you can recover your claim, consequential damages, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages in Louisiana.
2. Are punitive damages limited in Louisiana?
No, damages are not capped in Louisiana.
3. Do I have to pay to speak to an attorney about my case?
No, usually, your initial consultation and case review will be free.