Bad faith insurance refers to the insurer’s attempt to renege on its obligations to its clients. This is done through the refusal to pay a legitimate claim out to the policyholder or their refusal to investigate a claim within a reasonable amount of time.
An insurance company is said to be acting in bad faith when they begin misrepresenting the language contained in contracts to avoid having to pay out a claim. Another sign of bad faith is when the insurance company also fails to disclose policy limitations and exclusions before a policy is purchased or when unreasonable demands are made to prove a covered loss.
Fighting Unfair Claims and Practices
Florida’s Bad Faith insurance law protects the insured. When you purchase an auto insurance policy in Florida, you expect to be reimbursed when something unexpected happens. However, your insurance company has failed to act as they should and have not followed through with your claim and refuse to pay. This is definitely in bad faith.
Depending on the circumstances of your case and your claim, you may be entitled to recover some damages for the emotional distress the insurance company has caused you as well as the insurance company’s bad faith claim denial. Additionally, they may also have to pay out for punitive damages. For this, you have to be able to prove that your insurance company acted either intentionally or recklessly,
Filing a Bad Faith Claim
If you are interested in filing a bad faith claim, you need first to review your insurance contract in depth. You will also need to provide validity of the original claim and show that it falls within the terms of the policy. To do this, you need to gather as much evidence as you can, along with all the necessary documents.
If the claim is denied, you can request for a supervisor at the insurance company to further review everything, and if the denial is not reversed, you can then consider appealing to your state’s insurance regulatory agency.
Before you can sue, you need to show proof that you attempted to settle the claim. A written demand letter should be sent detailing the claim. You should also receive proof of receipt when sending this letter.
Next, you can file a complaint with your state’s Department of Insurance. Mediation is often the method used when this happens; however, not all disputes can be solved this way. Once all these steps have been completed, you can initiate a bad faith lawsuit. For this, you need to determine if you are going to file in state or federal court.
Work with an Attorney
Since this kind of claim and lawsuit can be hard to navigate on your own, you may want to consider hiring a professional attorney to help guide you through the process from beginning to end. Each state has its own laws in place protecting consumers from these kinds of bad faith tactics used by insurance companies.
An experienced attorney will make sure you are not faced with an uphill battle. They will fight on your behalf and stand up to the insurance company to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for their bad faith tactics and your compromised claim.