Insurance companies are rarely easy to work with, even when it is your own insurance company. Why? Because the entire business model of insurance companies is dependent on paying out as little money as is possible. This means that, often, whatever check you receive for a car accident will be much less than you are actually entitled. What do you do when the check arrives, but it is too low?
If the disagreement stems from the opinion of an adjuster, then the adjuster must give their reasonable basis for their opinion. If they refuse, then the insurance company may be acting in bad faith. If you provide an alternative basis, opinion or evidence, and then, your insurance company refuses to accept it or factor that new evidence into their payoff amount, then they may also be acting in bad faith. If you purchased insurance with certain limitations, but then, after a car accident, your limits changed, that may be bad faith. And, of course, if you received any lie from the insurance company that was also likely bad faith.
What does bad faith mean?
Under the law of every state, when you have a legitimate claim, your car insurance company has a duty to pay that legitimate claim in a reasonable time. When they do not, then they are acting in bad faith or using unfair claims practices. The name changes depending on the state where you live. Essentially, insurance companies break the law when the renege on obligations, unreasonably drag out the claims process, give false or misleading information to their policy holders or require unreasonable efforts.
What can be done?
Of course, with any car accident, calling an attorney is advisable, but that does not mean the insurance company will necessarily not do anything until you do. In fact, sometimes, just using the term “bad faith insurance practices” can be enough to get the ball rolling. This is because, once the insurance company knows that you know, it becomes imminently more likely that you will file something with the state insurance regulatory body or call a Washington, attorney.