Your insurance rights: Know the basics
Insurance is one of those things that you know is just part of being an adult — you have to have it so you bite the bullet and pay the bill.
And every month you pay it again, hoping that it is one product that you will never actually get to use — because using it means that something bad has happened. For example, you only get to use your insurance when something like a car accident happens or a tree falls on your house.
What happens, however, when your insurance company suddenly “ghosts” you and seems to pull a disappearing act right when you need it the most? Believe it or not, it happens. When it does, people find ordinary life problems compounded heavily because they’re relying on a company to do its job — and the company keeps stalling or finding ways to wiggle out of its obligation.
That’s the basis of a bad faith insurance dispute. This is what you can — and should — expect from your insurance company:
A fair and timely investigation of your claim
If your insurer puts you off, leaves you hanging without any ability to pay for repairs, makes unreasonable demands (like asking for an excessive number of estimates for repairs from contractors), gives you a valuation of your losses that is unfair and/or delays payment unnecessarily, that’s a violation of your rights.
A defense and indemnification
If you’ve never been in a car accident, you may not realize that you don’t hire your own defense attorney if you’re accused of being at-fault. The insurance company you’ve paid all these years is responsible for trying to defend you against a claim. That can include either defending you from the charges that you are at fault or providing an attorney if the case goes all the way to a lawsuit. You can also expect the insurer to pay any judgment against you, up to your policy’s coverage limit.
Depending on where you live, you may also have the right to expect your insurer to make a quick settlement if you injured someone in an accident that was clearly your fault.
If you feel that your insurance company has deserted you or acted in bad faith, you may have no choice but to eventually pursue justice for yourself in court.
Source: FindLaw, “What Is Bad Faith Insurance Law?,” accessed Jan. 12, 2018