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Resolving insurance disputes in Oklahoma

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Insurance

Dealing with insurance claims can often be as stressful as the incidents prompting them, especially when disputes arise. Oklahoma residents facing disagreements with their insurance companies over claims have several avenues for dispute resolution, including negotiation, arbitration, and the court system.

Understanding Your Policy and the Claims Process

Before engaging in any dispute, it’s vital to understand your insurance policy and the claims process thoroughly. Ensure you know your policy’s coverage limits, exclusions, and the procedures for filing a claim. Knowledge is power and your first line of defense in a bad faith insurance dispute.

Attempt to resolve amicably

A simple miscommunication can lead to a dispute. Reach out to your agent to clarify any misunderstandings. Policyholders should provide all relevant documentation to support their claim, including photos, repair estimates and police reports (if applicable). If you’re not getting satisfactory responses, don’t hesitate to escalate the issue to higher-ups within the insurance company.

Alternative dispute resolution

Arbitration may be listed in the policy as a format for resolving disagreements without going to court. It is a private and less formal process where an independent third party, the arbitrator, decides after hearing both sides. Some insurance policies may even require arbitration before pursuing litigation, so check if this applies to your case. Arbitration can be quicker and less costly than court, but the decision is usually final and binding.

Pursuing litigation in court

There are different types of courts. Small claims court offers a straightforward solution for claims worth less than $10,000, providing a more straightforward and faster resolution process. Larger claims that exceed the threshold are typically handled in civil court, a more formal setting where legal representation is often necessary due to the complexity of the proceedings. Regardless of the venue, going to court demands meticulous preparation. Consultation with an attorney is generally advisable to discuss the case’s merits and represent the policyholder in court.

More common than many realize

Disputes with insurance companies are common and can be challenging, but residents of Oklahoma have multiple paths for resolution. Regardless of the approach, the goal should always be a fair outcome that respects your rights and honors their obligation.