Deceptive Insurance Company Practices
Insurance companies routinely partake in deceptive or unlawful acts because they feel that they can bully their clients without recourse. Admittedly, fighting an insurance company—and their legal staff—by yourself can be extremely intimidating. However, with over 20 years of experience, Antonoplos & Associates has the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the complex issues associated with a deceptive insurance company practice claim. These deceptive practices come in many variations which we will review below.
One common way that insurance companies commit unlawful acts is by taking an excessively long time to decide if they will agree to pay a claim. In most states, insurance companies have between 15 – 60 days after a claim has been made to accept or deny the claim. Insurance companies typically use the unreasonable delay tactic in the hope that a client will give up on a claim after a few months.
Failure to Conduct a Complete Investigation
When working with clients, insurance companies must work with an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. Under this doctrine, the insurance company must conduct a full investigation into a claim within a reasonable amount of time. Insurance companies commit this deceptive act by only speaking on the phone with a client instead of reviewing the car and information provided from the garage. By doing so, the insurance company can easily deny claims with the hopes that the client does not understand the duty the insurance company has to them.
Deceptive practices occur when an insurance company fails to inform a client of a portion of their coverage. Another deceptive practice is when insurance companies do not notify you about the deadline associated with filing a claim or fail to provide you the papers necessary to file a claim. Insurance companies partake in these deceptive practices so that they do not have to pay for your covered damages or so they only have to pay for a portion of the damages.
Offering Less Money Than a Claim is Worth
If you do have a valid claim that your insurance company accepts, they may still try offering less money than a claim is worth. This allows an insurance company to seemingly help their clients by accepting their claim even though they could be lowballing the damages or offering a considerably lower amount than the damages require. Insurance companies use this tactic to inflate profits and withhold money from their clients.
Misrepresenting the Law or Policy Language
Insurance companies misrepresent the law or policy language to bully a client from not utilizing their insurance. For example, you may be involved in an accident that is partially your fault, yet you still file a claim with your insurance company. Depending on the state or policy laws, this may very well be a valid claim, however, your insurance company may say that you may be committing insurance fraud by filing a claim. By misrepresenting the policy language, they get you to drop a claim that would have otherwise cost them money.
Refuse to Pay a Valid Claim
Companies may try to deny your insurance claim even though the claim is covered under your individual policy. This commonly occurs when an accident occurs with another party that does not have insurance. In many cases, your own insurance company would have to pay for your repairs, however, many insurance companies deny having to pay these claims. If this occurs, and you have a record of your policy, you can easily file and win a lawsuit against your insurance company.
Making Threatening Statements
Insurance companies make threatening statements to their clients or third party members filing a claim to bully this party from doing so. If you go to file a claim and your insurance company says they will take legal action against you for doing so, immediately contact an attorney and your state insurance board.
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