What is Bad Faith by an Insurance Company?
If you were to ever get into a car accident, you would expect your car insurance company to be there for you. You would expect your claim to be approved and paid based on the guidelines of your policy.
However, not all insurance companies make good on their promises to look out for you and pay claims timely. After all, when an insurer pays a claim, they lose money. As you can imagine, companies don’t like to lose money, so some will go to great lengths to deny their clients’ claims.
This is not ethical. In fact, it is called bad faith. Bad faith occurs when an insurance company does not live up to its end of the agreement. If they engage in dishonest behavior so they don’t have to fulfill their end of the insurance policy, this is illegal and they can be held accountable for their actions through a lawsuit.
Bad faith can happen with any type of insurance policy, such as auto, home, life and health insurance. While a simple mistake does not constitute bad faith, not responding to a claim in a timely manner or failing to support a negative decision can be signs of bad faith.
Signs of Bad Faith
Bad faith can happen in many ways. The most common way is that the insurance company will delay or deny payment for no apparent reason. Failure to evaluate damages in a timely manner is also a sign of bad faith. So is lowballing, or refusing to pay a reasonable amount for damages. Other bad faith methods include:
- Requesting a burdensome amount of paperwork that is not required.
- Refusing to settle a claim directly and instead requiring a client to file a claim against a third party before making payment.
- Victimizing the client through harassing investigative procedures.
- Preventing the client from reaching a settlement.
- Altering or changing the policy without the client’s consent.
- Withholding important information and misinterpreting documentation in favor of the insurance company.
- Using unethical measures that diminish the value of the claim.
- Unwarranted accusations of arson.
- Threatening the client that they will not pay claims.
- Telling the client not to hire a lawyer.
- Cancelling a client’s policy after they make a claim in which they were not at fault.
- Failure to abide by industry standards.
- Use of wrongful or inaccurate information in order to delay or deny a claim.
- Use of harsh, victimizing tactics to prevent a client from filing a claim.
- Use of biased schemes (such as an independent medical examiner) to wrongfully deny a client’s claim.
Get Legal Help for Your Florida Bad Faith Claim
While insurance companies don’t have to approve every auto claim, they should approve legitimate ones. If your insurance company is delaying or denying your perfectly valid claim, then you may have a bad faith claim on your hands.
The Tampa insurance bad faith lawyers at the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group can help you with your accident claim and help you get the compensation you deserve from your insurance company. Schedule a free consultation today. Fill out the online form or contact our office at 813-242-4404.