You’re a reliable person who pays your bills and lives up to your obligations. Likewise, you expect others to do the same and honor the commitments they made when you contracted with their company.
One industry that routinely fails to live up to its contractual obligations to its customers is the insurance industry. Do you have any legal recourse in such situations?
You can file a bad faith claim against your insurer
While it’s not the first step to take, filing a bad faith claim against your insurance company might be your only option to recover what is owed to you. Because the clock can run out on legitimate claims that get denied or unreasonably delayed, it is important not to delay acting.
Below are some steps to take when building a solid bad faith insurance claim case:
1. Familiarize yourself with your policy
Ideally, you did this before purchasing the policy, but you will need to review the terms again to clarify the status of your claim. Make sure that there are no exclusions you may have overlooked that negate the claim or substantially reduce the insurer’s liability.
2. Document everything
Never give your insurer your sole copies of any photos, documents, estimates or receipts. Rather, copy everything and retain the originals. Log each call you have with the claims agent, noting the time, the name of the person to whom you spoke and any promised resolution.
3. Appeal denials
You have the right to appeal a denial and ask a higher-up to conduct a claim review. Your denial could get reversed at this phase. If not, you can escalate the matter with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s Bureau of Consumer Services.
4. Issue your demand
If the insurer continues to balk at paying the claim, your next step is to send a certified demand letter and keep the return receipt. Describe the circumstances and demand they timely pay the claim or litigation will follow. Make sure that you have the appropriate legal guidance at each step.