Mansell, Engel & Cole

What to do if your insurer strings you along

Another Oklahoma winter is coming to an end, but not without a fight. In addition to cold and snow, your region may be among those that experienced hail and high winds with the last storm system. The force of Mother Nature spared your loved one's any injury but left your home damaged.

Perhaps you need the roof replaced, or windows blew out from wind or tree branches. You may be eager to begin repairs, especially if the damage has made your property, or at least a room or two, uninhabitable. You did your due diligence in filing a claim to your insurance company, but you still haven't received the money from your policy. You have every right to feel frustrated and to wonder if there is something you can do about it.

The law protects you

Of course, like any business, insurance companies prefer to make money rather than to pay it out, but that is why you have paid faithfully on your policy since you purchased the house. If your policy is in good standing and you have followed the protocol for filing a legitimate claim that your policy covers, you should receive your check in a timely manner.

The Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act protects you from insurers who delay or deny payment for a just claim. An insurance company can violate this law in numerous ways, including these:

  • Lying to you about the provisions in your policy
  • Changing details on your claims application without your permission
  • Failing to honor claims based on information in false or misleading advertisements
  • Making you wait an unreasonable length of time before responding to your claim
  • Failing to notify you that their investigation is complete
  • Delaying the process by requesting unnecessary or duplicate documentation
  • Offering a far smaller settlement than you request or deserve
  • Failing to explain the reasons for denying your claim

Insurance companies may rely on your unfamiliarity with your rights under the UCSPA or your uncertainty about what your policy actually covers. You can help yourself by learning about the laws that protect your rights and having a thorough knowledge of your policy's terms and conditions. For assistance with this and any steps you may feel appropriate for holding your insurer accountable, the guidance of an attorney with experience dealing with bad faith claims against insurance companies can prove beneficial.

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