An insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance corporation. If you make a claim under your policy, Texas law requires that your insurance corporation acts "reasonably" and in "good faith" when determining whether or not to pay benefits under a policy. If an insurance corporation fails to act reasonably, it has violated Texas law and you may be entitled to damages.
An insurance corporation owes a fiduciary duty to its insureds. This means that the insurance corporation may not put its own interest above that of an insured. Texas law requires that insurance companies act fairly when dealing with their insured.
Not all denials are done in bad faith. If an insurance corporation has a good reason to deny a claim, then it has acted in good faith. Some examples are: the insured failed to cooperate with insurance corporation, a policy lapsed, a loss is not covered by the policy, or there is fraud. In cases such as these, an insurance corporation can deny a claim.
If you feel your claim was wrongfully denied, you will need to act quickly, as policies will generally have a short period for appeals. There are also relatively short time limits in which you can sue. It is very important that you read your policy to ensure you have complied with all of their prerequisites.
If you are still being denied, you will need to:
Insurance companies have a duty to promptly determine coverage and, if appropriate, pay claims. One thing to remember when dealing with an insurance corporation: Get it in writing.
If you speak with an adjuster, write down the adjuster's name, contact information, date, and time of your call and take detailed notes regarding the conversation. Follow up any conversation with a letter and keep a copy. Make sure to keep copies of all correspondence both ways. You never know when there will be a problem with a claim, so it's a good idea to properly document all communication with the insurance corporation from the beginning.
If you have already started communicating with the insurance corporation, start making your list of conversations now. Once you have compiled this information, contact an attorney to discuss your options.
You have the right to recover the full value for your loss. If the insurance corporation’s offer is a reasonable one, then they have not committed bad faith. If the offer is unreasonably low, or you can show that the insurance corporation is purposefully taking advantage of your situation, then there may be a case for bad faith.
There are measures you can take if you feel the insurance corporation has made an unreasonably low offer. Provide the insurance corporation with as much evidence as you can to support your evaluation of the claim. This could be receipts, photos of property damage, comparable sales of similar items, and the like. If the insurance corporation is still unwilling to act reasonably, then you may wish to contact an attorney.
We represent clients in Texas and, with qualified co-counsel, clients across the United States who have suffered from unfair, bad-faith insurance practices. We fight insurance companies due to wrongful refusal to pay, bad faith denial, unfair settlements, wrongful payments to beneficiaries, fraud, and unfair insurance practices. This includes homeowner's policies, business insurance, title insurance, health insurance, and life insurance cases.
You can have your case evaluated by a lawyer for free. We can accept a case on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay no legal fees unless we collect for you. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Leon, PC to set up your free consultation.