When you purchase insurance, you hope that you never have to use it. But, in the event of an injury, theft or property damage, you expect that your insurance company will pay your claim properly and promptly. You pay for this service in advance based on the “good faith” that the insurance company will honor its contract.
An insurance company acting in good faith is one that honors your insurance contract and fulfills its duties in the following ways.
- The company acts in a fair way.
- The insurance company looks for reasons to pay your claim rather than to deny it.
- The company cooperates with you regarding the claim by promptly responding to all letters and phone calls and by giving clear instructions as to what a customer must do to get a claim adjusted.
- Claims are either paid or denied in a reasonably prompt time.
- If your claim is denied, the company specifies in a written letter each contract term or provision on which the denial was based.
- There is a process by which denials can be appealed.
However, some insurance companies sometimes seem more concerned with profits than with helping the victims of car accidents, illness, injuries, fires, natural disasters, and crimes. When an insurance company puts saving money ahead of helping those it insures, it may be acting in bad faith. In Florida, bad faith is a legal term that means an insurance company is behaving in a way that is unfair or unreasonable. Bad faith insurance companies look for ways to deny paying benefits. Examples of bad faith can include:
- Failure to promptly and thoroughly investigate a claim
- Unreasonably delaying payment
- Unreasonably denying benefits
- Using unreasonable interpretations to translate a policy contract
- Refusal to settle a case or reimburse for the entire loss
If your insurance company is acting in bad faith, you have the legal right to sue your insurer for the benefits that should have been paid by your policy, as well as any losses or damages that were caused by the insurance company’s acts.
Attorney Kim Cullen has sixteen years of legal experience and has successfully handled many cases involving insurance disputes.
If you feel your insurance company is not treating your fairly, contact Kim. Because there are time limitations on many insurance claims, you will want to do this as soon as possible. Kim will review your contract and let you know what resources you have. The initial consultation is always free.