Auto insurance companies have a reputation for being shrouded in secrecy in terms of their methods of assessment, adjustment, and negotiation. As a policyholder, you pay your premium expecting that if and when the time comes, you’ll be supported based on the terms of your policy. Unfortunately, it’s in this time of vulnerability that many people face disputes, struggles, denials of claims, and other unreasonable roadblocks to obtaining the coverage they need. If this has happened to you, you may be a victim of bad faith practices.
What is bad faith?
An insurance provider acts in bad faith when it intentionally tries to limit the benefits to which its policyholders are entitled. Bad faith practices include offering unreasonably low settlements, pressuring a policyholder to settle, inappropriately delaying decisions on claims or benefits, and denying legitimate claims altogether.
It’s important to note that your insurance company isn’t necessarily acting in bad faith just because you receive a lower value out of a claim than expected or are rejected entirely. There has to be clear evidence that the company is purposefully interfering with your ability to receive or collect the benefits that you paid for and were promised in return.
Signs of bad faith
Any of the following tactics by your insurance company in regards to your claim may be an indication of bad faith practices:
- Avoiding your calls, questions, and inquiries altogether
- Failing to provide an adequate detailed description of your coverage/policy
- Unreasonably slow investigation of your claim
- Rejecting your valid claim without a legitimate reason
- Offering you an unreasonably low settlement and/or pressuring you to accept a questionable settlement
What to do if your insurance company is acting in bad faith
Many victims of bad faith practices, such as claim denials, may not realize that they have legal recourse. Indeed, if you suspect bad faith or your claim was denied entirely, you can still fight for the benefits you deserve. Confront your adjuster, taking care to mention the concept of bad faith, and make it clear you know your rights and are not afraid to take further legal action if necessary. Often this effort is enough to compel your insurance company to pony up. If it isn’t, you can explore your next steps with help from a Houston personal injury attorney.
Contact a Houston injury attorney who can help you obtain the benefits you’re entitled to
An experienced and trustworthy lawyer, Ryan A. DeHoyos, is a passionate advocate for victims of insurance company bad faith practices. To learn more about the legal support we provide, call (832) 745-4878 to set up a consultation or contact us online.