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Suffering an injury and/or property damage because of negligence causes an excessive amount of stress. You do not need to deal with an insurance company that aggravates your misery by failing to abide by the terms of the contract you and the company signed.
Unfortunately, far too many insurance companies across every insurance niche fail to follow federal and state statutes that prevent bad faith behavior.
The legal profession defines bad faith insurance practices to include unfair policies and dishonest business dealings. Most bad faith insurance practices are the result of company culture, not the negligent act of one or two rogue agents.
We encourage our clients to educate themselves on what constitutes bad faith insurance tactics
Watch Out for These Bad Faith Tactics
Most of the laws that address bad faith insurance tactics originate at the state level. This means what constitutes bad faith in Maryland might not mean the same thing in Oregon. However, insurance companies implement several common bad faith insurance tactics in virtually every state.
The broad legal term unreasonable conduct covers a wide variety of bad faith insurance company behaviors. Unreasonable insurance company conduct can include not returning communications via telephone, email, and/or text message. Insurance companies that void policies for no apparent reason have exhibited unreasonable conduct. Proving unreasonable conduct requires you to save every message you send the insurance company, as well as make copies of your policy to prove your policy is valid.
Some insurance companies are notorious for taking too long to investigate and process insurance claims. The reason for the lengthy delays is to determine whether a policy holder will give up pursuing a rightful claim. Most states mandate deadlines for insurance companies to either accept or deny insurance claims. Deadlines typically run between 15 and 60 days. Check with your state to see how long your insurance company has to make a claim decision. For example, you get into a fender bender that requires repairs. Your insurance company still has not investigated your claim three months after the accident. You need to contact an experienced consumer protection law attorney for legal advice on how to deal with your insurance company.
Lack of a Thorough Investigation
You insurance company might respond promptly-maybe too promptly-to the filing of an insurance claim. Every insurance policy, from covering your home to your health, mandates the insurance company must perform its legal duty in good faith and fair dealing. Good faith and fair dealing means your insurance company is legally obligated to conduct a detailed investigation of your claim within the state mandated period.
Read the fine print has special meaning for insurance policy holders. Many insurance companies tuck language into policies that deceive customers into thinking they have a comprehensive type of coverage, when the fine print reads otherwise. An insurance agent might not disclose what the policy covers, as well as fail to notify you of a claim filing deadline. You might have to deal with an insurance company that offers you less than what the insurance policy dictates.
Refusal to Compensate You for a Legally Valid Claim
State laws require insurance companies to implement fair practices when it comes to paying claims. An insurance company’s refusal to compensate you for a legally valid claim is one of the most obvious examples of a bad faith insurance practice. Let’s say you suffer an injury because of the negligence of a motorist. You file the valid claim and yet your insurance company fails to pay you because the company wants to blame you for sustaining the injuries. That is considered to be a bad faith insurance practice.
Some insurance companies like to bully policy holders by making threatening statements that range from the threat to take legal action to the threat of cancelling an insurance policy. If an insurance company threatens you, immediately contact your state’s insurance board and a licensed California consumer protection law attorney. An accomplished California consumer law attorney will schedule an initial free appointment to determine the legal strength of your case.