Residents throughout our community rely on insurance companies to honestly provide aid when they need them. Customers pay these companies specifically so that funds will be available in emergencies. Yet, situations often arise when a customer makes a fair claim to their insurance company that is then refused. When this happens the consequences for the customer can be significant.
Unfortunately, some insurance companies are willing to do everything in their power to keep money in their coffers and not pay out claims that they should to the customers who are counting on them. They often rely on the fact that most consumers are not familiar with the rules and regulations that guide insurance companies. They therefore try to drag out the process or intimidate customers in the hopes that they will mistakenly give up their attempt to recover on their claim.
All insurance companies in our state are guided by the California Insurance Code. This set of laws dictates what a company must do when it receives a claim from a customer. Violation of this code can result in significant liability for the company.
For example, the California Insurance Code prohibits the following actions:
- Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably with prompt communication related to claims
- Not attempting to fairly and equitably settle claims in good faith upon liability
- Forcing claimants to institute litigation to recover funds by offering an unreasonably low claim amount
- Engaging in tactics that force the customer to submit various forms that contain essentially the same information in an attempt to delay payment
- Waiting more than 30 days before paying on a claim that they do not dispute
When an insurance claim is denied, the company usually offers various reasons for the denial. For example, they often claim that a customer has missed a payment, did not update policy information appropriately, or misrepresented something on their policy application. On other occasions, the company may claim that they suspect you are committing insurance fraud. When the company cites one of these concerns they may deny the claim, make only a partial payment, or delay in making the payment. These actions have serious consequences for the customers who often lack the funds to recover their property or pay medical bills, have their health deteriorate because of the delay, fall behind on other financial obligations, find that their credit rating suffers, and any number of other problems. In each of those instances the customer often has a legal right to take action against the insurance company.
Our California insurance lawyer works with clients in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, and many other areas that have suffered harm because of these insurance company tactics. Consumers have legal rights that must be respected by their insurance companies. Many fail to seek out professional help in these matters and therefore fail to take advantage of the legal options available to them.
You should seek out legal help if you experience any of the following problems:
- You are denied life insurance benefits after a loved one’s death
- You suffer damage to your house and your Homeowners Insurance Company refuses to pay
- Disability benefits are being denied
- Property damage claims are being denied (often after an auto accident)
- Your insurance company is asking intrusive, repetitive, or unnecessary information of you
- You are having difficulty getting timely and honest answers from the company about your claim