You pay your insurance company for peace of mind. If a hurricane, fire, water loss, or other disaster damages your home or business, it is reasonable to expect your insurance company will promptly pay any and all damages covered by your policy. Unfortunately, in some instances, obtaining the recovery to which you are entitled is not always straightforward. When an insurer unreasonably refuses to investigate or pay your covered claim, they may be operating in bad faith.
Insurance Company’s Obligations To Policyholders
The insurance policy you have on your home, business, or property is a contractual obligation between you and your insurance company. Insurance companies must fulfill a number of important duties to their policyholders. Failure to meet these duties may amount to bad faith. Examples include:
- The Duty to Investigate – An insurer who fails to conduct a proper investigation of a claim and provide their findings (and a valuation) has failed to meet their duty to investigate. Unreasonable delays may also constitute bad faith.
- The Duty to Act Fairly and Honestly – An insurer has a duty to acted fairly and honestly toward its insureds and with due regard for their interests.
- The Duty to Communicate – An insurer has a duty to acknowledge and act promptly upon communications with respect to claims.
- The Duty to Indemnify – An insurer who fails to pay all damages owed under a Policy up to the limit of their coverage, has failed to meet their duty of indemnification, which may constitute bad faith.
** Whether the insurance company is acting in bad faith is a determination that should be made by an insurance professional. A skilled Property Damage Insurance Claim Attorney will be able to examine the issues in depth and file the statutory required notice to protect your rights under Florida law to pursue a bad faith claim.
Bad Faith Warning Signs
Below are just a few examples of what bad faith looks like in the insurance claim process. If you find yourself facing a similar situation with your insurance company, you may want to consider speaking with a skilled Property Damage Insurance Claim Attorney.
- The insurer delays, undervalues, or denies payment without a reasonable basis for its delay, undervaluation, or denial.
- Failure of insurer to acknowledge and reply promptly upon notification of a claim.
- Failure of insurer to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time upon receipt of claim and/or proofs of loss.
- The insurer attempts to settle a claim for less than what you are entitled or attempts to substantially diminish a claim requiring an insured to initiate litigation.
- The insurer requests a release.
- The insurer fails to promptly provide reasonable explanation and basis when denying or making a compromise offer of claim settlement.
First Step In Dealing With Bad Faith Tactics
The best way to deal with bad faith insurance tactics is to carefully document all of your discussions with the claims adjuster and to make a timeline of events. While you are negotiating your claim, you should keep a journal of any correspondence you have with the insurance company, whether over the phone, by mail, or online. Write down a detailed description of the adjuster’s actions (or failure to act/follow up) and the date on which they occurred.
You should also ask the claims adjuster to provide written documentation stating the reasons for his or her actions. If the claims adjuster refuses to comply with your request for documentation, you should send the insurance company a letter via certified mail, return receipt requested.
If you believe your insurance company has acted in bad faith, call an experienced bad faith insurance firm lawyer like Danahy & Murray right away.
Need Help With Your Hurricane Insurance Claim?
Whether you are getting ready to make your claim for damage, or have already reported your claim, contacting Danahy & Murray could help you avoid forfeiting insurance coverage rightfully yours, or accepting less than what you are owed for all your insured losses. Contact us online or by calling 813-940-1500 for a free case review.