Insurance is one of life’s pesky necessities. It’s required in order to drive a car and to mortgage a home. It is highly recommended for operating a boat, renting an apartment, even going on an expensive trip. If you have to make a claim, you expect it to go smoothly, but too often, that’s not the case. Insurance companies are businesses and, as such, they aspire to operate at the highest possible profit margin, which means paying out far less than they take in.
You can help get your insurance claim accepted by:
- Filing it quickly after the event
- Listing the details clearly
- Sticking to the facts
- Submitting photos/videos that document the damage.
Keeping detailed notes about the claims process can also be a big boost to your case if you end up needing a lawyer.
Insurers have a duty to act honestly and fairly in response to an insured’s claim. Some common practices they may use when not acting in good faith include:
- Saying that the policy does not cover the loss
- Unjustifiably delaying the settlement
- Arguing that the damages are below the deductible
- Changing or cancelling the policy
- Failing to communicate
- Using “independent” adjusters who conclude that the loss is excluded or that there was no covered loss
- Demanding an unreasonable amount of proof or unrelated proof.
It can not only be extremely frustrating when an insurer denies or undervalues a valid claim, it can also be actionable. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will take a claim seriously and investigate it only if the insured seeks a legal solution. Insurance can be complicated – and insurance companies may try to capitalize on laypeople’s confusion. For example, vehicle insurance policies can include several types of coverage such as collision, personal injury protection (PIP), and uninsured motorist coverage. Let an attorney sort out the policy’s provisions and exclusions.
Clerical errors do get made, so you may wish to make sure that an oversight is not the reason for denial or delay. If the carrier confirms there is no mistake and you believe you have been treated unfairly, you should consult with a qualified attorney to review the circumstances. Repeated attempts at contacting the insurance company for an explanation are discouraged because they may be able to use something you say against you to justify the denial. That time can also be manipulated by the insurer to run out the amount of time allowed by law to file a formal challenge.
Insurance policies are contracts that list the rights and responsibilities of each party. Policyholders who hold up their end of the bargain by paying their premiums in the event something happens have a right to expect fair treatment and compensation when something actually does happen. Denials or low settlements of claims can result in serious financial burdens on innocent consumers who are already dealing with the challenges that accompany car damage, fire damage, water damage, bodily injury, and more.
Here at Stabinski and Funt, P.A., we handle a wide range of insurance cases, and we are prepared to fight for you against insurance companies that have wrongfully denied or delayed claims, or failed to adequately cover the damage. We are highly experienced in handling insurance claims and, in many cases, we can do so without cost to you. Fees and expenses are frequently paid by the insurance company, so nothing comes out of your recovery. If you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 305-964-8644 or filling out a free case evaluation form.