A motor vehicle accident changes everything. While you may be fortunate that your accident is a mere inconvenience while you drive to work in a rental and wait for repairs on your car, you may be among the many for whom a crash results in life-altering injuries. In either case, an important holdup in your ability to recover and move on with life is the ethical reaction of the insurer with whom you file a claim.
Since Nebraska is a fault state, there may be natural delays in your payout while investigators and adjusters evaluate the details of the accident. However, how long should you have to wait before you begin to suspect the insurer is not playing fair with you? It may help you to be aware of some common strategies insurers use to avoid paying what you deserve.
Bad faith tactics designed to wear you down
Your job as an insurance policyholder is to know what your policy covers by carefully reading the terms and asking questions to clarify any doubts. Your insurer's job is to honor the terms you agree to as long as your premium payments are up to date. An insurance company who takes appropriate steps to investigate your accident and works to settle your claim in a fair and timely manner is said to be acting in good faith. An insurer who fails to do these things acts in bad faith.
You may experience bad faith tactics of an insurance company if its representative does any of these actions:
- Failing to adequately investigate your claim before denying it or offering an inadequate settlement
- Failing to notify you of the deadlines for submitting documentation for your claim, or deliberately neglecting to provide you with the forms you need to complete before the deadline
- Undervaluing your claim to avoid paying you the full amount
- Intentionally misinterpreting confusing language in your policy to avoid paying you
- Denying a claim for no valid reason
- Threatening legal action against you for filing a claim
- Dragging out the investigation or delaying to even begin looking into your claim.
The typical, good faith claims process lasts between 15 and 60 days from the time you file a claim until you receive notice that the insurer will either deny your claim or pay you. What you may not realize is that, despite the warm and friendly service you may receive when you make your monthly payment, an insurance company is a business with the goal of protecting profits.
While it is understandable that an insurance company would not want to pay claims that are not covered or are fraudulent, if you are facing bad faith tactics while trying to obtain an insurance payment, you may have better results with the assistance of a legal professional who knows how insurance companies work.