Insurance companies are businesses that stay profitable when they pay out less for claims than they take in for premiums. So as a business, insurance companies will try and either avoid or minimize what they may be liable to pay. While a Hollywood homeowners insurance company is able to try and stay profitable, it cannot violate what is referred to as their “duty of good faith.” When an insurance company acts in certain ways, a court can determine that they have acted in bad faith. If an insurance company acts in bad faith, it will allow a policyholder to sue using a Hollywood homeowner’s insurance lawyer and potentially recover damages.
Duty of Good Faith for Florida Insurance Agents
When a homeowner buys Hollywood homeowners insurance, he does it to comply with state laws and also to protect himself in case of an accident. Paying insurance premiums means that, in the event of an accident, the insurer will foot the bill and the insured will not have to pay out a large amount of money. Sometimes accidents in Hollywood can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Insurance protects Hollywood homeowners.
The whole point of paying insurance premiums is so that the insurer will actually pay in case of an accident. Insurance companies are under a duty to keep their word and pay, as the insured and insurer have signed a contract for the insurance companies to pay.
Sometimes, however, insurance companies do not act in the way that the insured assumed that they would. They sometimes will act in bad faith. This is when a Hollywood homeowner’s insurance lawyer can help you determine whether the insurance company is acting badly.
Filing Bad Faith Claims in Florida
Anyone who has filed a claim with a Hollywood homeowners insurance company knows that getting the money you are owed can sometimes take a long time. The processes involved are extremely complex and will require policyholders to fill out a bunch of forms and provide a lot of documentation. Courts will not find fault if there is a normal claims process. But a court will find an issue if an insurance company drags its feet in resolving or processing a policyholder’s claim.
For example, let’s say that a tree falls on your home. It caused $10,000 worth of damages. Under your policy, you are covered for over $10,000. Once you have submitted the appropriate documentation to your insurance company, it should pay the claim. You can expect to likely pay higher rates as a result of filing the claim, but getting the money should not be an issue.
These decisions take a fair bit of time. You will need to submit pictures of the home and any other relevant information. Then, insurers will review the information and decide whether the claim will be paid.
In the example, it is cut and dry. The homeowner was insured and it is only a matter of time before the insurer pays. It would be extremely unfair for a homeowner to not know whether he will be covered, or have to front the money to pay the other person while an insurance company deliberates.
In cases where coverage is obvious, and it is evident that the company is just trying to delay the inevitable, the insurance company will be found to be acting in bad faith. If an insurance company acts in bad faith, the insured can file a lawsuit against the insurance company using a Hollywood homeowner’s insurance attorney, claiming that the insurance company acted in bad faith.
The insured will be able to recover damages. So in the above case, the homeowner could recover the $10,000 he is owed. But he may also be able to get what is called “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are damages that a court will inflict on the defendant insurance company to say that they have acted badly and to make sure that they do not act that way again. The insured may even be able to get punitive damages if the insurance company ultimately pays. This is because the judge wants to make sure that the insurance company never does this to another customer again.
When is a Florida Insurance Agent Acting in Bad Faith?
It is not always clear when there is an unreasonable delay. These cases can be difficult because there is no set time. It depends on the circumstances of the case. If a claim truly requires extensive investigation, or If there was some delay to an outside party (for instance, the police took a while to get back to the insurance company), then a court may be more likely to give the company more time. A Hollywood homeowner’s insurance lawyer can help you figure it out.
Below are some common signs of unreasonable delay:
They stop talking to you.
One of the first signs that an insurance company is acting in bad faith is that they stop talking to you. Like all companies, insurance companies can be extremely busy. But if days or weeks start passing when you have repeatedly called, it is safe to say that they are avoiding you.
They do not tell you why they have denied a claim.
You have a right to understand why a claim was denied. If they are not telling you why the claim was denied, it may be because the claim was valid and they do not want to pay.
They try and get you to accept a number that sounds wrong.
Your policy will spell out how much you are owed per incident. Sometimes, insurers will try and pressure customers to take a smaller number by lying and saying that if they do not accept, then there will be no money.
They cancel your policy.
In this case, they are trying to stop talking to you or even get you to believe that you are no longer eligible for compensation because you are not a client. While there are valid reasons for canceling coverage, you should be suspicious if your insurance company drops you when processing your claim.
Seek Legal Guidance From a Skilled Hollywood Homeowner’s Insurance Attorney Today
This is why it is important to take any claim to a Hollywood attorney. They will look at the unique circumstances of your case and help decide whether the insurer has acted in bad faith and tell you whether you may have a claim. If you are on the fence about whether to pursue a claim, it is best to reach out to a Hollywood homeowner’s insurance attorney and discuss your bad faith insurance claim.