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Bad Faith in First-Party Property Damage Insurance Claims

| Aug 31, 2016 | Insurance Claims |

When it comes to seeking compensation from an insurance company, there are two primary types of claims. These are “first-party” and “third-party” claims.

What is a First-Party Insurance Claim?

In a first-party insurance claim, you seek to enforce the terms of your own auto, home or other insurance policy. For example, say that your home suffers severe damage in a hurricane. When you file a claim with your insurance company, you are filing a “first-party” claim. Your goal is to have your insurer supply the money you need to fix your home so that you can move back in as quickly and safely as possible.

This is contrasted with a “third-party” claim, which involves seeking compensation under someone else’s insurance policy. For example, when you slip and fall in an office building or get hit by a distracted driver, you will generally seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company through a third-party claim.

What are Examples of Insurance Bad Faith?

Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of bad-faith insurance practices to list them all here. All types and sizes of insurance companies engage in bad faith, and at Saavedra | Goodwin a significant portion of our practice focuses on representing property and business owners in coverage disputes involving bad faith delays and denials.

Some of the most common examples of bad-faith insurance practices include things like:

  • Failing to conduct a timely and adequate investigation
  • Unreasonably delaying payment on a covered claim
  • Denying a claim without explanation
  • Threatening improper or illegal action
  • Misrepresenting the facts or the terms of your insurance policy

See more examples of insurance bad faith.

What Can I Do if My Insurance Company is Engaging in Bad Faith?

If you believe that your insurance company is engaging in bad faith, what should you do? First, collect evidence. If your insurance company sends you a letter, keep it. If you call and no one calls you back, make a note. While you are at it, dig up a copy of your policy (you may be able to find this through your online account) along with proof of payment of your monthly, semi-annual or annual premiums.

Second, do not give in. It is easy to assume that your insurance adjuster is the expert, and that whatever he or she says when it comes to your policy or Florida’s insurance laws must be correct. Do not rely only on your insurance company. Insurance companies put their interests first (not their policyholders’), and you do not want to make the mistake of taking an insurance adjuster’s word for granted.

Third, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Bad faith scenarios often get worse before they get better; and, if you continue to communicate with your insurance company on your own, you will likely delay (or damage) your ability to secure a fair recovery. An experienced attorney will be able to deal with your insurance company for you and force the issue so that you can get on the road to obtaining a successful resolution as quickly as possible.

Get Help From Our Experienced Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Attorneys

Is your insurance company engaging in bad faith? If so, we are here to help. Our property damage attorneys represent policyholders in bad-faith insurance cases throughout South Florida. To speak with an experienced attorney about your claim, call our Fort Lauderdale law offices at (954) 767-6333 or request a consultation online today.