Insurance policies are a contract between the insured and the insurance company. Insured parties pay premiums and, so long as they do so, the insurance company must pay all claims that fall within the four corners of the policy. The insurance company is obligated to treat the insured with honesty and good faith – but sometimes, they don’t quite live up to that obligation. Here are five hints that your company may be acting in bad faith.
Low Settlement Offers
Your insurance company and its staff know that you need the money for your claim and that you probably need it quickly. One of the most common bad faith acts is to offer a settlement to you well below the value of your claim. Remember, the company’s first settlement offer is likely to be a low one. If it’s significantly less than you expected, you can try to negotiate a better offer. In any case, a low settlement offer is often a first sign that your insurance company is acting in bad faith.
Burdensome Document Requests
You will be asked for many documents during the investigation of your claim. You should gather those records and be prepared to submit them whenever you file your claim. However, if your insurance company starts asking for unrelated documents or makes repeated requests for documents they have already requested, they are probably trying to slow down and make the claim process difficult for you. In other words, they’re acting in bad faith.
Delays in Investigation & Failure to Communicate with You
Your insurance company knows better than you that timing is critical in an insurance claim. They know you have bills to pay, and the more of them you have, the lower settlement offer you’re likely to accept. So, if they are not communicating with you or delaying responses to your requests and submissions, they may well be acting in bad faith.
Unreasonable Denial of Your Claim
Your insurer has every right to deny an improper claim. However, they should tell you why they did it. When you see the reason, you may realize that the investigation was inadequate and, thus, improper denial. This is the point when you need to contact insurance counsel.
Failure to Pay Your Claim
Sometimes the insurance company acknowledges your claim is a good one, but then for one reason or another, doesn’t pay, pays slowly, or doesn’t pay the total amount due. Again, this is a time to consider contacting an insurance claims attorney.
Contact a Bad Faith Insurance Claims Attorney Today
If you think you are experiencing bad faith handling of your insurance claim, don’t try to handle it on your own. Your first consultation to evaluate your claim is free. Don’t wait too late. Get help today.
1. Why is a lowball offer a sign of bad faith?
Your insurance policy is a contract. It sets out your premiums and the risks and scale of payment for those risks. If your insurer is straying too far from the policy terms, the company is probably not acting with good faith in performing the company’s contractual duty of good faith.
2. What can I receive if I do prove bad faith?
In Louisiana, a proven bad faith claim can receive a recovery of the amount of the claim and the greater of two times the amount of the claim (or the difference between what was paid and what was due) or $5000, as well as possible punitive damages.
3. How much time do I have to file a claim?
Generally, one year from the date of the loss.
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