How to know when an insurance company acts in bad faith

On Behalf of | May 25, 2018 | Firm News

You only file an insurance claim when something bad has happened. Whether it is a car accident, storm damage, or a broken leg, no one files an insurance claim because they are having a great day. To make matters worse, dealing with your insurance company is often difficult. When an insurance company crosses the line from difficult to dishonest, it is said they are acting in bad faith.

What is bad faith?

Basically, an insurance company has a contractual obligation to show good faith toward the insured. When an insurance company refuses to do so, it is considered bad faith. Bad faith entails behaving dishonestly or unfairly towards its clients. First party bad faith claims are not recognized in Missouri. However, if an insurance company is refusing to pay, Missouri law allows you to file a claim of “vexatious refusal to pay.”

Below are some possible ways insurance companies could act in bad faith.

  • Delays an investigation into an insurance claim
  • Refuse to perform a thorough investigation into a claim
  • Does not provide proper forms or inform you about filing deadlines
  • Offers you less money than what you are owed
  • Completely refuses to pay a claim
  • Uses policy language in way it was not intended to deny your claim
  • Threatens you

Proving your bad faith claim

To show the insurance company acted in bad faith, you must prove certain elements under Missouri’s law. First, show you had a valid insurance contract with the insurance company. You must also have waited 30 days before you filed your bad faith suit. Demonstrate that your policy covered the claim the insurance company is denying. The company’s refusal to pay must also fall within that 30-day window. Finally, you must prove the denial of the claim was unreasonable and unjust.

Proving a bad faith case is difficult. You may want to reach out to an attorney experienced in handling bad faith claims. An attorney can help you build a case and hold the insurance company accountable for their actions.