Four Things that Suggest Bad Faith Settlement Practices By the Insurance Company

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Aaron House

Four Things that Suggest Bad Faith Settlement Practices By the Insurance Company

Insurance companies have a responsibility to handle claims in a fair manner. Policyholders have the right to expect good faith settlement practices from the insurance company. Missouri recognizes a tort action for an insurer’s vexatious refusal to pay a claim. In other words, an insurance company that wrongfully refuses to pay a claim without good cause may be liable not only for the full value of the claim but also for additional damages (bad faith damages). Here, our Kansas City bad faith insurance attorney highlights four signs that suggest the insurer is operating in bad faith.

An Unreasonable Delay in Investigating Your Claim

When you file a claim in Missouri, you should be able to expect that the insurance company will act promptly—assessing the damages and deciding on compensation in a reasonable timeframe. An unreasonable delay in investigating your claim is one of the first signs of bad faith. In too many cases, it is an attempt to frustrate and tire out the claimant, hoping they will either give up or accept a lower settlement. While sometimes delays can be due to genuine reasons, any type of unexplained or unjustifiable delay is a serious cause for concern.

An Outrageously Low Settlement Offer

One of the most blatant signs of bad faith is when the insurance company presents a settlement offer that is laughably below what the claim is worth. Insurers have a duty to settle valid claims for full and fair value. An outrageously low settlement offer can sometimes be a tactic employed to check if the claimant has done their homework regarding the claim’s value. Those unaware of the actual value might accept these lowball offers. If your claim’s evaluation is considerably higher than the offer, it is a sign that the insurance company is trying to take advantage. It could be bad faith.

A Material Misrepresentation of the Insurance Policy

Every policyholder should familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions of their insurance policy. The unfortunate reality is that some unscrupulous insurance companies might deliberately misinterpret or misrepresent the clauses in the policy to avoid paying out. A material misrepresentation could come in the form of wrongfully claiming certain damages are not covered or the twisting of policy exclusion language.

Refusal to Communicate

Communication is the foundation of any claim settlement process. If the insurance company avoids answering your calls, does not respond to your letters, or deliberately keeps you in the dark about the status of your claim, it is a strong indicator of bad faith. In some cases, refusing to communicate is a tactic to make the claimant feel helpless and uninformed.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Top Kansas City Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer Today

At House Law LLC, our Kansas City bad faith insurance attorney has the professional expertise that you can trust. If you have any questions about a bad-faith insurance claim, we are here to help. Call us now or contact our law firm online for a free, no-obligation case review. With an office in Kansas City, we handle bad-faith insurance claims throughout all of Missouri.

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