Is Your Insurance Company Breaking the Law?
When you are injured in an accident or suffer significant property damage, you depend on your insurance company to be there for you. When they don’t do what you expect them to do, frustration is an understatement.
Insurance companies want to make as much profit as possible, so they may not always obey all the rules. What you may not know is that insurance companies are required to do certain things when you file a claim. When they do not, they may be in violation of the law.
Insurance companies sometimes delay the start of an investigation into a claim with the hope that you will simply give up on it. Most state laws have deadlines for when an insurance company must accept or deny a claim. These deadlines may range from 15 to 60 days. If your insurance company delays investigation beyond those dates, they may have violated the law.
Failure to Conduct Investigation
Your insurance company is required to act in good faith and provide you with a fair deal. They must investigate any claim you file, even if it is simply sending an adjustor to review your damage. If you submit a claim after your car is damaged while parked on a street and your insurance company denies the claim without sending out an adjustor or refuses to look at estimates you have collected, they are not acting in good faith.
If your insurance company fails to provide you with important information, they may be in violation of the law. This could include:
- Failing to disclose existence of coverage
- Failing to notify you of a claim deadline
- Failure to provide necessary paperwork to complete your claim
Your insurance company is required to act in good faith and provide you with a fair deal.
Offering Low Settlement Amounts
Although insurance companies try to offer low settlements in order to increase their own profits, they are not allowed, under the law, to purposely offer far less than they know your claim is worth. If you have provided estimates for damage repairs and your policy has adequate coverage to pay those claims, the insurance company may not offer you less than the lowest estimate you received.
The insurance company can also not refuse to pay a valid claim that is a covered event on your policy. For example, if you have no-fault insurance coverage and are struck by an uninsured driver, your insurance company must cover the damages and any injuries.
Misrepresentation of the Law
There have been instances when insurance companies purposely misrepresent the law or the language of a policy in order to avoid paying a claim. Insurance agents have a duty to be truthful in their statements, and making false statements may be a violation of the law. In court, you must prove that the statements made were intentionally false in order to mislead you.
Any insurance company that makes threatening statements to a policy holder may be prosecuted under the law. If an insurance agent tells you that if you file a claim, they will file legal action against you, it is important that you contact your state insurance board as well as an attorney right away.
What to Do When Your Insurance Company Breaks the Law
Did your insurance company break the law when they processed—or failed to process—your claim? If you believe your insurance company has violated the law, it is important that you reach out to an insurance attorney to learn what rights you may have. The only way to keep these companies operating the way they should is to hold them accountable when they are on the wrong side of the law.