BAD FAITH INSURANCE CLAIM
ATTORNEYS IN HOUSTON, TX
Have you ever filed a residential or commercial insurance claim in Texas and been given the runaround, low-balled, or even denied? It’s not uncommon for insurance companies — and their claims adjusters — to use every trick in the book to protect their bottom line, which means that you have to be extra vigilant when pursuing a claim.
Unfortunately, no matter how smart or tough you think you are, insurance adjusters pride themselves on being one step ahead. You can be goaded into saying something that they can use against you to reduce or even deny payout on your claim.
Texas laws protect you against bad faith tactics by insurers, but that does not mean they are not going to try anyway. Do not leave anything to chance. Involve a knowledgeable and experienced insurance claims attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve.
If you are located in Houston, Texas, or the surrounding communities of Sugar Land, Baytown, Katy, or Pearland, contact McLaurin Law for help with your insurance claim, especially if the insurer starts giving you the runaround.
TEXAS UNFAIR CLAIMS PRACTICES ACT
Texas, like most states, is aware of how insurance companies operate and has laws protecting policyholders from bad faith practices. The Texas Unfair Claims Practices Act prohibits, among other practices:
- Misrepresenting policy provisions relating to the claim being made
- Failing to respond with “reasonable promptness” to the claim or any correspondence relating to it (basically, ignoring you)
- Failing to promptly investigate the claims submitted
- Not attempting “in good faith” to issue a “prompt, fair, and equitable” settlement of a claim, the liability for which has become “reasonably clear”
- Forcing the policyholder to file a lawsuit to recover the correct amount for a claim by offering less than what the policyholder obtained in the original suit
- Failing to provide a reasonable explanation for their denial of the claim or to offer a compromise settlement for the claim
If you have experienced any of these prohibited bad faith practices during your filing of a claim for commercial or residential policies, contact an attorney immediately. The sooner in the claims process that you involve legal representation, the better your chances become of getting the compensation entitled to you under your policy.
FOR YOUR CLAIM
THE TEXAS CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS
Texas has implemented a Consumer Bill of Rights when it comes to homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies. The Consumer Bill of Rights, among other things, prohibits your insurance company, agent, or adjuster from “making false, misleading, or deceptive statements relating to your insurance.” Other provisions cover your privacy rights and include protections against being denied coverage in the first place. The Consumer Bill of Rights is enforced by the Texas Department of Insurance.
BAD FAITH IN THE
If, for example, your roof is crushed by a falling tree, your insurer has a responsibility to promptly investigate the incident on-site. They also have an obligation to promptly communicate with you, the policyholder, and to honor the provisions of your policy.
To do all of this, they will assign a claims adjuster to investigate. The adjuster should inspect the damage firsthand and also communicate with you about what happened. This is where things can get tricky.
The claims adjuster may tell you your policy provides only for a certain percentage of the costs for repairing the roof, when in fact, it provides for full replacement cost minus your deductible. The adjuster may also keep dragging out the investigation in the hope you tire of the process and accept the first offer they tender, even if it is a low-ball offer. Another tactic is to send you an initial payment to cover the start of repairs and later to claim that that payment was the full amount due to you. They may also try to find some reason to simply deny your claim.
STATE-IMPOSED TIME LIMITS
Texas requires insurers to settle claims within 35 business days. They have 15 business days after a claim is filed to acknowledge it by forwarding the instructions and paperwork needed by the policyholder. The paperwork should include proof-of-loss forms, which serve as a sworn statement by the policyholder as to the extent of the damage or injuries. The insurers then have five business days to make the final payment once the claim is approved.
TRUST A TEAM OF SKILLED ATTORNEYS
It almost goes without saying that the insurance company is going to try to low-ball you on their initial offer, hoping you accept it so they can close the book and end their liability.
At the first sign of stalling or low-balling by the insurer, you need to get an attorney involved who is familiar with the claims process and is accustomed to standing up to their tricks and tactics. If you try to go it alone, you can easily fall victim to their bad faith settlement practices without knowing it.
Even if the insurer settles with you equitably, they may try to recoup their expenses by raising your premium. You should involve attorneys in this as well because you should not be punished financially for making a valid claim.
If your claim cannot be resolved to your satisfaction through negotiations with the adjuster, you can proceed to file a lawsuit based on their bad faith tactics, which are prohibited by the Unfair Claims Practices Act.
BAD FAITH INSURANCE CLAIM ATTORNEYS IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
The bad faith insurance attorneys at McLaurin Law represent clients in the greater Houston, Texas area, as well as Sugar Land, Baytown, Katy, or Pearland. Call the firm today if you feel you have fallen victim to insurance companies’ bad faith tactics, or if you want to make sure that your claim will be fairly dealt with and honored fully.