When dealing with issues that involve your insurance company, it is important to be informed of your policies and be able to recognize when an insurance company is acting in bad faith. If you suspect bad faith from your insurance company or simply want to educate yourself before getting into turmoil, read up on our short guide to insurance bad faith.
Qualifying “Bad Faith”
It is important to be able to recognize what your insurance company may be doing that could qualify as acting in bad faith versus simple mistakes that can be easily fixed. When an insurance company attempts to avoid its obligations to a customer to avoid paying a claim, they are acting in bad faith.
This may look like a misrepresentation of an insurance claim contract’s language to a policyholder in the effort to avoid paying a claim. Failure to disclose the full terms of a policy-- including limitations and exclusions-- is also classified as bad faith. Another instance includes an insurance company making unreasonable demands on a policyholder to provide proof of a loss that should be covered. Insurance companies can act in bad faith in different ways. If you suspect foul play, you should consult a lawyer to see if you might be able to make a case.
Are You Experiencing Insurance Bad Faith?
Being educated in this area of malice is wise as an insurance policyholder. This helps you enter discussions with your insurance company prepared so you can ask the right questions about things you agree to. It is important to recognize that bad faith can happen in every sector of insurance policies- health insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, homeowner’s insurance, etc.
Some of the most common instances where insurance bad faith occurs include when an insurer fails to promptly reply to a policyholder’s claim, which is considered an act of negligence. Insurers should also let the policyholder know why they are refusing to pay a claim or only partially cover it. If an insurer is ignoring evidence that supports the need for a policyholder to file a claim, this is also considered acting in bad faith.
If you are experiencing a slight disagreement with an insurance company or a difference in opinion over the loss amount for a claim, these things are not necessarily considered bad faith. Insurance bad faith can and does happen, but it is important to understand what qualifies versus what doesn’t. This is when having a lawyer is helpful. We can help you differentiate between the two and get you the representation you need.
Solving a Bad Faith Insurance Case
If you suspect you may have been the victim of insurance bad faith, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced lawyer to help you build your case. Many states have laws addressing insurance bad faith or unfair claims practices acts. Educating yourself on the laws within your state is also an important practice if you suspect this may have happened to you.
Some state laws will have clauses that require insurance companies to pay additional damages for acting in bad faith in addition to covering the initial claim. In some cases, a jury may also move to award punitive damages to a wronged policyholder in an effort to discourage the insurance company from acting in this way again.
How Barfoot and Schoettker Can Help
Our experts at Barfoot and Schoetter specialize in several different aspects of law and provide various different kinds of services. We have plenty of experience fighting for the rights of policyholders who have experienced coverage disputes, insurance recession, failure to defend, and insurance claim denials, among others. We are your trusted resource to provide effective representation and exceptional results.
If you suspect insurance bad faith with your insurance company, contact us today to speak with one of our professionals. Let us come alongside you in your legal journey and empower you to receive the compensation you deserve.