When Insurance Companies Deny, Delay or Defend, You Have Rights!
Feeling protected, covered, and taken care of is a natural feeling that all humans experience and are drawn to. Insurance companies and their policies seem to bank on this particular human need when they offer you their services. Besides the fact that insurance is mandatory for health, automobiles, homeowners and businesses, you might feel that paying a premium every month might save you from spending thousands of dollars later if an accident occurs. However, most policy owners either have their claims denied or get much less than the claimed amount.
Like banks, insurance companies make their profits from investments, stocks and real estate. Therefore, they value their profitability above anything that they work for. Yes, even more than their customers sometimes. Policy owners often find themselves negotiating or convincing insurance/claims adjusters that the insurance company should cover them for certain damages/losses or accidents only to know that their safety net is not as dependable as they thought it is. Usually under these circumstances the following occurs:
- Policy clauses are presented to the policy owner to prove that their insurance policy does not cover what they are asking for
- A lowball settlement is offered/given; you are given less than what you estimated to be the correct compensation
- The insurance company or their agent will try different ways of delaying the settlement so that you miss deadlines for document submission or important court dates (in case of a suit); it is a way of exploiting your vulnerability in a difficult situation.
- Your insurance company will direct you to a particular service provider for repairs or replacement. So for instance, you have a car accident and file a repairs claim with your insurance company. There is a chance that they will give you an estimate based on their preferred car body shop and strongly encourage you to take you car there.
In most of the scenarios above, people accept the settlement offer from the insurance company due to lack of knowledge about the policy they bought and their rights in relation to the policy providers. Due to the highly legal nature of the interaction and transaction between you and the insurance company, it can be challenging for you to deal with insurance claim issues. If you are experiencing claims issues it is highly recommended that you are aware of the following so that you are protected from any exploitation:
- Do not accept the initial settlement offer without fully understanding your policy and extent of damage, preferably with the help of an insurance attorney in Oklahoma.
- Try to keep your communication with the adjuster and/or with the insurer documented by interacting through email or any other written form. Be careful about what you say to them in writing or on the phone as they can use it against you. Moreover, do not agree to sign any documents (during the claims adjustment process) without consulting your insurance attorney.
- If the insurance company sends you a check with an amount for your damages that you do not agree with, do not cash it; the insurer might use it as a proof of your acceptance on the settlement they offered.
If you think your insurance company is (unethically) denying and delaying your claim and/or not defending you from the other party, you should contact an insurance attorney at Atkins and Markoff who can offer you expert advice and file a bad faith insurance claim on your behalf. Atkins and Markoff can offer you some of the best insurance attorneys in Oklahoma for cases that range from injury and damages in car accidents to homeowner’s damage claims.