Posted in News on January 27, 2021
Sustaining an injury or significant property damage is difficult enough. However, the situation can become more fraught if your insurance company does not live up to their end of the contract. Insurance carriers are required to investigate, negotiate, and settle injury claims in good faith with their policyholders. This is not just something the insurance company does out of the kindness of their heart – this is required by law.
When the duty of an insurance carrier to operate in good faith is violated, they may be held liable in court for bad faith insurance practices. Here, we want to discuss the most common bad faith insurance practices that could affect your claim.
One of the most common bad faith insurance practices involves unnecessarily and unreasonably delaying an insurance claim. An insurance company may drag out the time it takes for them to investigate the claim before agreeing to pay (or deny) the claim. This tactic is usually done to see if the claimant will simply give up pursuing their attempt at getting a settlement. Most states set deadlines for an insurance company to accept or deny a claim. In Montana, state law sets this deadline at 30 days.
Incomplete or Failure to Investigate
Every insurance provider in Montana is required to conduct prompt and thorough investigations into the policyholder’s claim. However, an insurance company may not do their due diligence when it comes to investigating a claim. For example, suppose a claim is submitted for a vehicle that was damaged while parked in a driveway. Now, suppose the insurance claims adjuster only made a phone call to the policyholder and made no attempt to investigate the incident further. If the insurance company then denies the claim and says that the damage was due to a previous incident, this could be evidence of bad faith practices.
An insurance carrier could fail to disclose the existence of the coverage you have available so they do not have to pay you any compensation. Additionally, the insurance company could fail to notify you that a filing deadline is approaching or fail to provide the necessary paperwork for you to complete the insurance claim on time.
Refusal to Pay Claim
Insurance companies cannot simply refuse to pay an insurance claim without having a valid reason to do so. Unfortunately, there are times when a carrier will deny a legitimate claim against the insurance policy.
Making Threatening Statements
Under no circumstances should an insurance company ever make threatening statements towards a policy or another party making a claim. This could happen in a variety of ways, including an insurance carrier threatening to take legal action against you or filing criminal charges if you submit a claim.
Misrepresenting the Policy Language
If an insurance carrier deliberately interprets the language of the policy against the person making a valid claim, this could constitute bad faith insurance practices. Insurance policies are incredibly complex, but this does not give the insurance carrier the right to misinterpret or misrepresent the language to the claimant.
Do You Believe You’ve Become Victim of Bad Faith Tactics? We Can Help
These are only a few examples of bad faith insurance practices. There are certainly others that are experienced by residents in Montana. If you believe that you have been the victim of bad faith insurance practices, contact the team of attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC for help with your case today. Our bad faith lawyers have the resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into the initial incident as well as any allegations of bad faith insurance tactics against your insurance carrier. Our goal is to ensure that you receive coverage for the initial incident as well as additional compensation you may be entitled to after experiencing bad faith practices by your insurer.