The reason people buy insurance is to protect themselves against a natural disaster or some other unexpected event. When such an event occurs, people have a right to expect their insurance company to comply with the contract and treat them fairly. While this occurs most of the time, some insurance companies, in an effort to save money, refuse to act in good faith.
The pressure to cut cost and save money unfairly is especially great after a natural disaster such as a hurricane because there can be hundreds of thousands of claims that must be paid. In these instances, a homeowner has a claim against his or her insurance company and will typically be entitled to additional monies if bad faith can be shown.
Can I File a Bad Faith Claim?
What constitutes bad faith on the part of an insurance company depends on the applicable state law. In most states, it is not bad faith if there is a legitimate dispute over what it will cost to repair or replace something. Likewise, it is typically not bad faith if there is a valid dispute over whether something is actually covered under a person’s policy. Bad faith in the context of insurance is when your insurer looks for a way to avoid its obligations without a reasonable or rational basis.
While each state has different laws on what bad faith is, the following are some general examples of the type of behavior that constitutes bad faith:
- Complete refusal to investigate a covered claim
- Failure to timely handle a claim
- Refusal to pay a covered claim
- Withholding necessary information from a policy holder
- Performance of shoddy or inadequate investigation
- Out right refusal to pay a covered loss without conducting any type of investigation
- Refusal to make a reasonable and fair offer when liability is clear
- Refusal to provide a reasonable basis for denying a claim
- Telling the insured things that the insurance company knows not to be true
- Intentionally misleading an insured regarding what is covered under a policy
Insurance Bad Faith Assistance
If you or someone you know believes that the insurance company is not acting in good faith, you should contact a qualified Hurricane Harvey bad faith insurance lawyer to review the facts and advise you on your legal options. The attorneys at Sutliff & Stout can help determine if you are eligible to file a bad faith insurance claim after Hurricane Harvey. Call today for a free and confidential consultation.