When you enter into a contractual relationship with an insurance company, you expect that they will honor the terms contained in their policy. At the time you decide to accept their offer for coverage, they made promises to you that you would be protected in the event that something should happen.
Unfortunately, in many circumstances, insurance companies in a host of different industries often deny valid claims made by policyholders. They are hoping that you accept their answer of no and move on, without challenging them on their response.
In some situations, the actions of the insurance company may give rise to a bad-faith insurance claim. A company acts in bad faith when it wrongfully rejects a claim that it is required to honor under an existing insurance policy.
Bringing a cause of action against an insurance company for these types of cases can be complicated. You need to show first that you were covered under the policy, and that the insurance company has an obligation to you under your policy. Then, you must show that the company behaved in a manner that made it impossible for you to collect the money that you are entitled to receive.
Actions that may include bad faith on the part of the insurer include:
- Failing to respond to your claim in a timely manner
- Withholding payments to you that it has promised to pay
- Performing lengthy investigations which never seem to conclude
- Rejecting your claim without performing an investigation
- Offering you less money than you are entitled to receive under your policy
The fact is, if this is happening to you, it can be very hard to get the insurance company to accept that you have a valid claim. They are going to make it very hard for you to keep things moving forward.
It is a good idea to consult an attorney experienced with bad faith claims to get a better understanding of your options. This will not only tell you if you have a case, but it can also provide you with a clear view of the potential compensation that may be available to you.
Depending upon the actions of the insurance company, you may be entitled to receive an award that is above what you would receive if the company had simply paid your claim. However, you must consult an attorney to be sure that you are doing everything you can to support and establish your case.