Don’t Get Taken for a Ride: 5 Ways How Insurers May Take Advantage of Unrepresented Claimants
Whether you like it or not, insurance companies have no intention of paying every victim what they really are entitled to. After all, they have a business to preserve. Still, while many companies do not have a direct objective to swindle claimants, they will do what is in the best interest of their company rather than your own. There are different ways that insurers take advantage of unrepresented claimants. Here are five ways they do just that.
1. Unreasonable Delays
Many insurance companies’ own policies stipulate a 30-day response time for claims filed. If an insurance company fails to comply with their own policy, this could be deemed as unreasonable delay. Some insurance companies employ certain delay tactics, including taking several weeks to respond or failing to return telephone calls, making claims that their investigation is incomplete and request information gradually or give the claimant to a new adjuster. Whether or not you need a lawyer, it’s only fair that when the time comes to file a claim due to no fault of your own, you get the benefits that you paid for, is treated fairly and your claim is paid promptly.
There are some tough insurance adjusters around who would prefer not to pay your claim regardless of the severity of your injuries or damage to your vehicle. It can be a daunting experience to go up against an insurance company, and they may use certain intimidation methods against you. Intimidation is never condoned and it is beneficial to know some of the most common intimidation tactics used by insurance companies, such as implying a take it or leave it offer, coming up with a phony acceptance deadline and veiled threats that discourages attorney retention.
3. Non-disclosure of Coverage
As long as coverage exists, your insurance company has a contractual duty to defend and provide compensation for injury, loss or damage. Your insurance company should not intentionally or irresponsibly participate in non-disclosure, withholding information or misinterpreting policy provisions that would be in favor of a claimant. Failure to act in your best interest in this regard can involve your insurance company suggesting that you use private insurance, recommending that a friend drive you to work instead of offering a rental car, and even asking you to use sick leave days.
Willful deception by an insurance company is a clear indicator of it acting in “bad faith” against you. In order to deny a claim and reduce the potential value of a valid claim, an insurance can deceive claimants. The insurance company can take misleading accident photos and disregard hidden vehicle damages, seek claimant statement in an effort to minimize the damage and even fabricate the denial of coverage.
Low-balling is a tactic by insurance adjusters to save the insurance company money, and typically, a low offer is presented initially. However, keep in mind that the initial offer is the first step in the negotiating process, and it’s up to you to accept it, reject it, or try to negotiate a higher settlement amount. An adjuster may use software manipulation techniques in low-balling like, failing to enter the accurate amount for lost wages and/or medical expenses and applying a low liability assessment.
Know that you deserve to be treated fairly by your insurance company. This simply isn’t always the case and some will try to take unrepresented claimants for a ride. An insurance company can take advantage of unrepresented claimants through deception, intimidation, unreasonable delays, lowballing and withholding information.