When you pay your insurance premiums faithfully, you expect to be treated fairly if you need to make an insurance claim under your automobile or homeowner’s insurance policy. It can be extremely frustrating when this does not happen, especially when you have paid your premiums for years without ever making a claim. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always do the right thing and often engage in bad faith negotiating when settling their customer’s claims and paying the amount owed.
What Is the Benefit to an Insurance Company in Delaying Payment of Insurance Claims?
One of the most common examples of insurance company bad faith is delayed payment or delayed processing. This is when an insurance company takes an unreasonable amount of time to process or pay your claim—or when they purposefully delay your claim for an arbitrary reason. Here are ways that delaying your claim can benefit the insurance company:
- Collecting interest. For every day that an insurance company delays your claim payment, they can make interest on the money that is rightfully yours. If they delay the payments of lots of their customers, they can make a significant profit by holding onto the money of injury victims—even if it is only for a few days or weeks.
- Bullying the claimant. If the insurance company purposefully stalls the claims process, they may be trying to bully you into accepting less than you are entitled to. The insurance adjuster may be hoping that you need the settlement amount badly enough to make a needed car or home repair that they can wear you down by delaying settling your claim.
- Punishing the claimant. In some cases, insurance companies have delayed the payments of claimants who have fought hard to get the correct payout—or who rejected small or unfair payments early in the settlement process. If you had to retain an attorney and fight for the settlement you deserved, the insurance company may try to punish you by delaying the payments they agreed to.
What Steps Can You Take If the Insurance Company Delays Your Claim?
You do not have to accept an unreasonable delay in resolving your claim or in receiving your payments. Follow these steps if you believe your insurance company is treating you unfairly:
- Act in good faith in your dealing with your insurance company. Cooperate with the claims process and provide the adjuster with the documents requested in a prompt fashion.
- Be persistent and firm in trying to resolve your claim. Do not give up if the insurance adjuster is delaying your claim.
- Send letters to the insurance adjuster confirming conversations and what documentation is being requested. Sometimes letters get the attention of a person in a way that a telephone call does not.
- Contact the adjuster’s supervisor if you do not believe the insurance adjuster is treating you fairly.
- Retain an experienced insurance attorney if your claim or payments are being delayed. Your attorney will be able to effectively assert your rights under your insurance policy and negotiate a fair settlement for you.
Is your insurance company acting in bad faith in negotiating your insurance claim or paying you your settlement amount? Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn how our legal team can help.
Category: Insurance Coverage Disputes & Bad Faith Claims
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