Dealing with insurance is frustrating even if the representatives you speak with are forthright. When they try to ignore your claim, it can be hard to know what to do. Your first step should be to contact a Kansas City insurance bad faith attorney with experience handling bad faith insurance claims. Our team can go through the specifics of your case with you and explain what your options are.
My Insurer Won’t Pay for a Crash I Caused
Though insurers tend to put their own interests first when it comes to paying claims, they are actually contractually bound to act in your best interests. When facing claims from a third party, it is illegal for them to:
- Fail to defend you if a claim is made against you
- Refuse to settle for damages that are within the scope of your policy
Both of these negligent actions could lead to you facing a lawsuit and having your finances threatened. It should go without saying that, if an insurer has agreed to cover certain damages, they cannot pass that burden on to you. If they try to, our team can help you file a lawsuit to compel them to pay.
Bad Faith Actions (or Inaction) by Insurance Companies
The point of purchasing an insurance policy is peace of mind. Should a negative and costly event occur, having an insurer will protect you from most, if not all, of the unexpected expenses. This is the basic agreement we all enter with insurers when purchasing a policy.
However, when the insurance company, for whatever reason, fails to act as it is supposed to, you may be involved in a bad faith issue. Bad faith occurs when one party fails to fulfill the legal or contractual obligations to which it has agreed. This may include them misleading the other party, entering into a contract without the means or intention to honor it, or violating accepted standards of honesty in business dealings.
The following actions made by your insurance provider often indicate bad faith:
- Failure to either pay or deny a claim within a reasonable period of time
- Failure to promptly respond to your questions or concerns
- An attempt to settle a claim for less than a reasonable person would consider fair
- Unreasonable documentation and/or paperwork requests
- Failure to provide supporting documentation when denying your claim
In their attempts to save money, insurers have found many ways to act in bad faith. They may try to dodge paying a claim by purposefully misinterpreting the language used in their policy; fail to disclose certain limitations of the policy when you purchase it; engage in unreasonable delays in your dealings; fail to conduct an investigation of your losses; or make arbitrary or unreasonable requests in asking you to prove the loss you have sustained. Such tactics may be so bad they are considered abuse.
Though auto insurers are the worst offenders, bad faith can occur with any type of insurance policy, from homeowners’ and renters’ policies to health and life insurance. When such a situation arises, your best chance for recourse may be to file a lawsuit.
I Have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, but My Insurer Won’t Honor It
Also known as a first-party claim, this type of refusal to provide payment contractually owed you is illegal. That means if you purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and were involved in a hit-and-run that would be covered by it, your insurer must take action to resolve it in a timely matter. They cannot deny a claim without solid evidence to support their decision, nor can they refuse to investigate your claim to avoid their obligation to pay.
If your insurer is unreasonably delaying your claim or has denied it for an invalid reason, you may be able to take them to court for vexatious refusal to pay. Our Kansas City bad faith insurance attorneys can help you get your suit started.