Even if you have consistently paid your premiums for years. and you are sure you are completely covered, expect the insurance company to challenge your claim. Rather than the delivering the check you had expected insurance companies often respond with a letter denying your claim. This may only be the start of a three part strategy designed to maximize profit.
Deny: Insurance companies have offered their adjusters financial incentives to apply creative means to successfully deny claims. Even simple paperwork errors and missing a deadline may be used to forfeit your claim and be used to impede your claim.
Delay: The longer an insurance company can draw out the claims process; the greater chance the policyholder may make an exploitable error. Also, the longer the insurance companies hold on to your money, the more money than can make off their investments. Likewise, the adjusters also anticipated that some policyholders will simply get tired of dealing with it or merely just not have enough time in the day to follow-through.
Defend: Finally, insurance companies may counter your claim with a low ball offer meant to defend their position. Serious injuries have been met with offers as low as $50. Insurance adjusters have made it their career to serve the interest of the insurance companies, not to address your needs.
There are ways that you may protect your claim.
There are certain ways of protecting your claim:
– Be cautious when receiving checks. If the insurance company sends you a check for premium refunds because they are canceling your insurance do NOT cash the check. This may be used to show that you have consented to the the insurer’s decision;
– Read your policy thoroughly and be sure you understand what you are entitled to receive;
– Fill out forms carefully. A honest mistake can be used by the insurance company to deny your claim;
– Write letters or send emails rather than make phone calls to the insurer. Everything you say needs to be on paper as proof if you have to fight for your settlement;
– Involve a lawyer as soon as practicable;
– Do not give up. Perseverance may win the day even if it takes a long time.
– Involve your Insurance Commissioner’s office if the problem warrants it.
If you feel that the insurance company is challenging your claim with the “deny, delay and defend” strategy, consult an experienced insurance attorney so you do not forfeit your claim, and protect your rights.