When we purchase insurance policies, we expect that this policy will provide complete coverage for any unforeseen event. In fact, the insurance company guarantees this promise in order for you to purchase an insurance policy. However, insurance companies deny the majority of claims filed under a policy or significantly undervalue a claim and offer less than the total amount of damages, whether for businesses, homes, vehicles, other property, or even the loss of a loved one.
What is a bad faith claim? A bad faith claim is one where an insurance company has failed to provide coverage under the insurance policy as promised, even though it was a valid claim. In Texas, the basis of such a claim is that the claimant or plaintiff is at a disadvantage from the insurance company, the insurance company’s actions were unreasonable, and the insurance company knowingly acted unfairly and not in good faith.
There are different types of bad faith claims including, but not limited to:
• homeowner’s insurance claims
• property damage claims
• auto insurance claims
• water damage claims
• damage from natural disasters including, hurricanes, hail, fire, wind, tornadoes
• commercial property damage claims
• health insurance claim
Many common excuses and tactics an insurance company will use in order to deny coverage or act in bad faith include:
• claim insurance policy does coverage is different than originally promised
• stating there were missed payments
• information was not timely updated or misrepresented
• using threatening or abusive tactics and offering less than the value of the claim
• unreasonable and untimely delays in responses, offers where liability clear, payments, or failing to acknowledge receipt of a claim
• requesting unnecessary documentation or duplicate forms submitted without any basis
• failing to explain delays, payments, why a claim is denied, or the appeals process
• knowingly misrepresenting claims process, holding information back, stating claim is not covered, and intentionally misrepresenting the value of the claim
The claims process is difficult and even more exhausting when an insurance company did not act in good faith and treated you unfairly. No person should have to deal with this on their own and should always hire an experienced attorney to help during this stressful period. An attorney will not stop until you receive fair compensation for all losses and damages including, up to three times the total claim if the insurance company acted with intent, court costs, attorneys’ fees with interest, mental anguish for individuals, and punitive damages or damages to punish the insurance company for their egregious behavior.
About the Author: Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997 with over 42 years of combined experience. Mala is a Board of Advocates for the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association GP Solo YLD, member of the Houston Bar Association, President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association.
This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you require advice on any particular legal question, you may contact Sharma & Associates at 281-893-8644 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.