When most people think about insurance, it tends to conjure up mixed emotions. Insurance is one of those unique services that we all pay for and yet hope we never really need it. It’s a necessity in most aspects of our lives, as it creates a safety net of sorts that softens the financial impact of otherwise tremendously expensive misfortunes.

Don’t Risk It

Insurance is also somewhat of an investment, especially in terms of health insurance, life insurance and policies that cover things like personal injury and disability. Furthermore, insurance rates are variable based on the amount of risk involved for the insurer to cover you; so you may actually find yourself shopping around, comparing rates and making adjustments to lower your risk factors for a given type of insurance. Most people have at least a few types of insurance policies, but they aren’t always easily obtained and represent a consistent cost.

While we recognize the value of insurance coverage, all of the costs and hassle surrounding them makes them feel more like a necessary evil. That’s why it is crucial that, in the event we have to submit a claim, we insist that the insurer hold up their end of the bargain – After all, we went through all the trouble of acquiring the policy and consistently paying for it.

Keeping Them Accountable

Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always so quick to shell out the cash when they are the ones paying us. Awaiting the approval and payment of an insurance claim can prove terribly frustrating, not only because the claimant is often facing huge financial burdens, but they are also likely dealing with some other emergent issue such as injury, the loss of their vehicle or damage to their home.

Usually the insurer does come through with the proper payment of claims after a brief investigation to ensure everything is in order and in compliance with the policy and coverage. Small delays can be a reasonable and expected, so long as there is legitimate cause and a tenable conclusion. But things may start to go awry if you see overly drawn-out delays and/or difficulty corresponding with your insurer. These may be signs of a potential act of bad faith on the part of the insurer.

Bad Faith = No Good

Perhaps the worst case scenario you might encounter is an act of bad faith from your insurance company – meaning they are not resolving your claim properly, if at all. As long as your claim warrants payment within the obligation set forth in your policy and there is nothing suspect about the incident and/or your part in it, the insurer is obliged to pay you per the terms of the policy for your claim.

Acts of bad faith can take many forms and manifest in various ways, such as unwarranted delays in processing your claim, poor handling of the investigative process, offering significantly lower payments than expected, or the outright denial of payments for conditions covered in the policy.

The bottom line is that, if you’re not getting paid what you are expecting, in a timely manner, it might be time to consider seeking legal counsel for help in dealing with the insurer. If you’re struggling with such an issue, you are likely already overburdened. Don’t let an insurance company burden you further.

Frank Cristiano is a Malpractice Attorney and legal blogger for Cristiano Law