4 Ways Your Insurance Company Might Try to Rip You Off
Most insurance companies are quick to take but painfully slow to give. So, it is sometimes extremely hard to recover all your damages, medical expenses, and whatnots when life throws you a curveball. And to add insult to injury, some insurers want to make sure that they are covered from the get-go when you sign the insurance policy. But you can always catch them red-handed if you have the patience to read the fine print.
Delaying Claims… Indefinitely
A common unfair practice insurers use is to postpone looking into your insurance claim or reaching a settlement for as much as the law permits (and even beyond) in the hopes that you might give up and let them keep your hard-earned cash in their pockets. And this simple tactic usually works, especially if the value of your claim or personal injury settlement is low.
In most states, the deadline for an insurance company to look into a claim is one to two months. But in some states, there’s no clear deadline, so an insurer could drag the things for months, years, or until you have had enough.
Conducting Sketchy Investigations
It is the insurance company’s duty to conduct a prompt and proper investigation to see the real merit of your claim. Unfortunately, some insurers think that they can get away with it if they conduct a faulty investigation. And they usually do at the expense of policy holders who might get a much smaller payout if a proper investigation would have been carried out.
Insurance companies might try to dupe you with a sketchy investigation by:
- Delaying the investigation unreasonably. In some cases, you would want them to investigate ASAP especially in car accidents, personal injury or when you don’t have the money for the repairs or medical bills. Since insurers can legally delay replying to your claim, they can also delay the investigation (in some cases for many months depending on the state)
- Not conducting any investigation at all.
- Conducting a faulty investigation, also known as a bad faith investigation.
Keep in mind that a late investigation doesn’t mean that the company has resorted to a deceptive practice. The insurer might need some extra time to talk to all the witnesses, access police reports, or medical papers. If you believe that the insurer acted with a deliberate intent of depriving you of what’s rightfully yours, you must prove that the insurer is at fault.
Pushing You into Quick Settlements
The insurance company might call you after filing an insurance claim and making you an offer that is hard to resist. Don’t let yourself lured in by the politeness and often false generosity displayed by the company’s employees. They are trained to be that way.
Most of the time, a quick settlement works against the customers by undercompensating them. For instance, a car insurer could make a generous offer that helps you repair or replace your totaled car. You might think that they are quite generous for covering your medical bills, if the accident also resulted in your injury. But they might actually be undercompensating you by thousands of dollars, while you are totally convinced that they’re acting in good faith.
So, never go into a quick settlement and never sign anything without consulting with a professional first. And if you feel that things are being dragged on or that the investigation was conducted in bad faith, you’ll need a personal injury lawyer to sort things out and force the insurance company to reach a fair settlement for you.
Resorting to Less Obvious Deceptive Tactics
One of the most common deceptive practices insurers resort to is a confusing declaration sheet from which you cannot clearly tell what your rights are in case of a bad incident. Some insurers would rather hide the existence of coverage, so you don’t force them to pay to you what’s rightfully yours.
In some cases, your insurer might even fail to notify you of an important deadline after which they can deny you the claim with a gentle pat on the back. It is perfectly legal, even though it fails majorly in the morals department.
On a similar note, there have been some cases in which the homeowners insurance covered for stolen goods, but the insurer failed to inform the policy holder that he or she could file a claim for the lost revenue caused by the incident as well. And the list of insurance companies’ deceptive practices could go on ad nauseam.
You cannot outsmart the devil because he has tricked people much more intelligent than you and he has millennia’s worth of expertise under his belt. While insurance companies are not as old in their business, they do resort to sketchy tactics just like humanity’s arch enemy does. So, if you feel that you are being duped by your insurance company, don’t wait it out. Contact an attorney immediately.