No matter what type of insurance you must buy, it is never as easy as it sounds—and filing a claim with an insurer is often the same way, unfortunately, even sometimes spurring on an investigation. Today, insurance companies bring in billions of dollars in profits, and some of that money is in thanks to you, paying premiums. Consumers in the US have much to protect, from their health to their estates, to cars, homes, businesses and professional liability, and more.
The transaction is supposed to be simple enough really, overall. You find an insurance agent you can trust and discuss all the details of what you are trying to insure. They sell you coverage that should offer you comprehensive risk protection according to what you need, money and policies and handshakes are exchanged, and everyone goes on their way. If you pay your premiums, you probably won’t hear from the insurer very much, unless there are changes or additions to your policy—and those are all details which you should be apprised of clearly.
On filing a claim, you may be expecting the same straightforward behavior you received before you were asking anything of the insurer. For many policyholders, this is a rude awakening. Suddenly, with the prospects of a substantial payout looming for your claim, the adjusters may not be as quick to complete an investigation—or worse, there may not be one at all. Delays upon delays may occur, and while for some this may not be a dire situation, but for example, if you have lost your home due to a disaster or if it has become uninhabitable due to a construction defect, there is probably a great sense of urgency to make repairs and get life back to normal. If your insurer begins acting in bad faith, it may seem like the world is turning upside down.
Outright denials, low-ball offers, and sudden differences in translation of how your policy works are all good examples of bad faith, but there may be other subtle ways that the insurer will try to intimidate you. Asking for excessive amounts of documentation, for instance, is not okay. Although the insurer may make it sound like asking for large amounts of paperwork is just routine—thus snowing you under with completing tasks—it is usually a tactic used to ‘encourage’ the policyholder to back down.
They may even require documents like your tax returns. This could be part of intimidating tactics asking for you to run around and find paper to supply them with, but a request for tax returns could also be their way of inspecting your finances to see if you would be motivated to file a fraudulent claim—or their backup for asserting so. Accusing or insinuating fraud is not only another common tactic, but a way to delay making a payout for a long period of time.
If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm. If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!