You probably think that buying insurance buys you peace of mind – mostly because that’s the story that insurance companies are selling. It’s incredibly frustrating, then, to discover just how far some insurance companies will go to avoid paying up when there’s a legitimate claim.
Insurance companies use all kinds of tricks and bad-faith tactics to deceive consumers and deny their claims. Here are several methods they employ:
1. They reward their adjusters for denying claims
Technically, insurance companies usually refer to this as an incentive for those adjusters who meet “low payment goals,” but it’s really the same thing as rewarding them for denying claims. Plus, the fact that low payouts are rewarded subtly signals to other adjusters that any sign of “generosity” on their part will be penalized.
2. They slip restrictive agreements into your hands
Many insurance claims require more than one payment from an insurer to cover all the damage, but insurance companies can get crafty. Before you sign any check that’s less than the full amount you expect to receive, check the back to make sure that there’s no restrictive endorsement that sacrifices your right to any further claims. Do the same with any other paperwork they give you.
3. They try to make the process so hard that you give up
You may expect to jump through a few “hoops” on your way to an insurance payout, but an excessive amount of paperwork should raise suspicions of foul play – especially if you’re asked for the same papers more than once. It could be a purposeful delay tactic. The same goes when the adjuster refuses to return your calls in a timely fashion, misses appointments or constantly has excuses about other delays. The insurer may be trying to make you abandon your claim out of frustration.
If you believe that your insurer is playing games with you, it’s often prudent to get some experienced legal guidance. Insurance companies have plenty of legal help on their side, so why shouldn’t you?