When you submit a claim to an insurance company, you have a legal right to expect the company to handle it in good faith. This means in an honest and fair attempt to resolve your claim and protect your interests. Unfortunately, many insurance companies act in bad faith, meaning they handle claims dishonestly – often to save money. One example of insurance bad faith is failure to investigate a claim.
What Are an Insurance Company’s Legal Responsibilities?
Many insurance policyholders do not realize that state laws protect their interests. You may not be aware of a duty owed to you by the insurance company by law. However, all insurance providers in Florida have a legal obligation to act within a policyholder’s interests and according to the terms of the insurance policy. They must properly evaluate and handle all claims. If an insurance company negligently or intentionally acts outside of the law, it has acted in bad faith and may be liable for related losses.
What Are the Signs of Failure to Investigate a Claim?
Failure to investigate a claim is a common example of insurance bad faith in Florida. It can describe an insurance company either conducting a low-quality and incompetent investigation or unnecessarily drawing out the investigative process. Failing to properly investigate an insurance claim may mean ignoring key facts, failing to conduct in-person inspections, or not asking a policyholder for key facts, evidence or proof of losses.
Taking an unnecessary or excessive amount of time to investigate a claim submitted is also an example of insurance bad faith. According to Florida law, an insurance company must begin an investigation of a claim within 10 days of receiving all required documents and proof from the claimant. In addition, an insurance company has no more than 90 days total to investigate and accept or deny a claim.
If an insurance company does not communicate with you properly about the status of your claim, denies your claim without investigating it first and/or takes an unnecessary amount of time to investigate, you could be the victim of insurance bad faith. Ask the insurance company for an update or a reason for the delay. If you suspect an insurance company has wrongfully denied your claim or delayed the investigative process without a good reason, you may have grounds for a bad-faith insurance claim.
What Is an Insurance Bad-Faith Claim?
An insurance bad-faith claim in Florida attempts to hold an insurance company financially responsible for mishandling a claim and/or mistreating a policyholder. It seeks financial compensation from the insurance company for the actions or omissions it committed against the insured in bad faith, resulting in harm to the policyholder.
If the insurance company would have done something differently had it been handling the claim in good faith, it could be guilty of the tort of bad faith. If a bad-faith lawsuit against an insurance company in Florida is successful, the insured will receive damages from the insurance company for its wrongful acts, plus a settlement for the original insurance claim, if applicable.
Damages in a bad-faith insurance claim may include an amount for emotional distress, legal fees, court costs and inconvenience, as well as a financial penalty against the insurance provider. Holding an insurance company accountable can also help prevent bad faith against other clients in the future.
Has Your Home Insurance Company Denied Or Undervalued Your Property Damage Claim In Florida?
If your insurance company is dragging their feet regarding your property damage claim you should speak with an experienced insurance claim lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Tampa, Florida law office directly at 800.451.6786 to schedule your free consultation. We help Florida residents just like you fight the big insurance companies who fail to abide by their own policies. Remember, we work on a contingent basis, meaning you don't pay us anything until we win your case.