What to do if insurance company is stalling? Dealing with an unreasonable insurance company is never a fun event as it usually means you have been involved in an accident and suffered property damage or worse, injured. After the incident, you want to get back to your normal life as soon as possible, but what can you do if your insurance company takes forever to process your claim? There are a few things you can do to speed up the claim process, but if you’ve got all the ducks in a row and the insurance company is still deadlocked, you may be dealing with a bad faith claim.
Is The Insurer Stalling?
I don’t want to give the insurance company the benefit of the doubt, because over 90% of insurance company delays are strategic.
But that means that sometimes the insurance company doesn’t stop in bad faith.
In this article, I’ll cover that for you and help you figure out if an insurance company is stalling in negotiations and what to do if it does.
Reasons Why an Insurance Company Can Be Stalling
First, let’s describe the different reasons why an insurance company can get stalling. From there, we can determine which reasons indicate that the insurance company is looking for a strategic advantage.
Some of the reasons are:
Stalling to perform due diligence
The insurance expert must collect evidence to decide on a file or claim. Maybe the insurance company is doing that due diligence.
Bad adjusters installing
Let’s face it, in every profession, some people are bad at their job. Insurance companies and loss adjusters are no exception. The controller might just be lazy.
The adjuster stalling cause he’s busy
On the other hand, the regulator may be overwhelmed. Insurance companies are busy putting pressure on people, and that includes their employees. Maybe your adjuster has too many claims to juggle and can’t keep up.
Stalling as company policy
Some insurance companies promote a stalemate system to extend claims and avoid getting paid. Chances are if you have no other facts, this is what the insurance company is doing by closing your case.
Stalling to burn your SOL.
You have a submission deadline, this is your limitation period. By renewing your claim, your SOL will begin to expire. The claims adjuster may get lucky and be so late that you lose your SOL and no longer have a valid claim. This is a dirty move and the insurance company will play any dirty trick on you.
Stalling to discourage claims
Dragging things out and jumping through hoops can exhaust you and give up and not pursue the claim. A percentage of people will, and the insurance company knows this, so downtime is a viable business model for them.
Stalling to face the evidence
If the insurance company delays long enough, certain evidence will cease to exist, such as tire marks on the road, bruises that are not photographed, and other evidence. The claims adjuster may interpret this to weaken your claim, from an evidentiary point of view.
Signs That An Insurance Company Is Stalling
Now let’s look at some of the reasons insurance companies are stagnating that indicate foul play.
Stalling due to fragmented test requests
If the insurance expert asks for proof and documents one party at a time, it’s a red flag of foul play every time you talk to the insurance company.
Stalling by asking for irrelevant things
If the applications clearly show that the insurance company is asking for evidence that won’t help assess your claim, this is another red flag.
These pointless pursuits are meant to be silly messages that keep you busy and exhaust you.
Stalling by changing adjusters repeatedly
If the insurance company gets stalling repeatedly changing your regulators, be very careful. Ask the controller what happened to the previous controller. If there’s no good reason, there’s probably something wrong.
Stalling with unreasonably low offers
This is common way insurance companies get stalled. They make low bids that require more back and forth and lengthen the claim process. This may be evidence of bad faith.
Stalling due to lack of contact
If the insurance company does not contact you promptly and does not respond to your contacts after days or weeks, chances are it is looking for a strategic advantage.
This can be a busy adjuster, but a pattern of this over a longer period is common evidence of something more problematic than understaffing.
What To Do If Insurance Company Is Stalling?
Here’s my best list of what I would do if I wasn’t a lawyer and an insurance company withheld my claim. Hopefully, this gives you some guidance.
However, I must say that this is not legal advice and you should speak to a lawyer for advice on your particular claim and how to handle it.
Stop Stalling By Asking For A Full List Of Needed Documents
One thing you can do if an insurance company is stalling is to write a letter asking them for a full statement of everything they need from you to assess your claim.
This prevents snagging from fragmented document requests and satisfies my second recommendation, right below.
Stop Stalling By Following Up In Writing
Phone calls are recorded in the insurance file (if the insurance company does its job, which is not always the case).
However, my experience is that written communication has more impact and contains a more definitive story than what is said.
Therefore, it is a good strategy to put the file on paper with many contacts that can be used as further evidence of bad faith, as well as proof that it is the insurance company that is paralyzed, not your lack of diligence.
Stop Stalling By Asking For A Supervisor
Sometimes you may be dealing with a lone-wolf expert who is not acting in the best interest of the insurance company.
By escalating the problem and deferring tactics to a supervisor, you can keep a close eye on your claim and keep the adjuster more honest and diligent.
However, this is not a weapon of choice, as that expert will get mad at you and end up bidding on your claim.
Stop Stalling by contacting the Insurance Commissioner
Every state has an insurance commissioner and a process through which to report bad insurance companies and insurance company misconduct (such as delay).
If there is sufficient evidence of bad faith in your case, you can report the problem to the insurance commissioner.
If I have done this in the past, it has resulted in quick responses from the insurance company.
Again, this is not a weapon to use unless the insurance company seriously delays your claim, and for no good reason.
Stop Stalling by filing a lawsuit
The best weapon a claimant has to prevent an insurance company from going bankrupt is to file a lawsuit.
I often settle a claim within a few months of filing the lawsuit.
This is because filing a lawsuit shows that you will not sit idly by and let the insurance company hold you back without consequences.
How Long Can The Insurance Company Stall Your Claim?
Without going into the nuances of each state’s law, there is agreement on how long an insurance company can hold a claim.
That is the rule of good faith or if not followed, bad faith.
The insurance company must assess your claim in good faith or you will receive a bad faith claim.
In some states, a claim of bad faith is strong. In other states, a bad faith claim is a window dressing in terms of a recoverable and viable claim.
The definition is flexible because the claims are flexible. An insurance company may need much more time to assess the complex case, and there is no point in setting a strict deadline for this.
How long an insurance company can delay a claim depends on the state, the claim, and the reasons for the delay.
Common Types Of Stalling In Non-Life Insurers
Unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for getting bogged down in claims no matter what kind of problem they’re dealing with. We’ve seen this many times from accident victims to homeowners and more, but it’s as common as ever for insurance companies and probably always will be when they’re trying to protect their profits. Below are some of the most common types of claims where insurance companies get stalling.
- Homeowner Insurance Claims
- Insurance Claims for Commercial Homeowners
- Claims for car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Hail and storm damage claims
- Personal Injury Claims
- Do your due diligence before you pay
If you have a valid insurance claim, you may not know why the insurance company investigates your claim so much. This is very common when an insurance company suspects fraudulent activity or has reason to believe that your claim is being made based on an event that may not have happened. There are so many fraudulent claims that it is quite normal for insurance companies to investigate even the smallest claims to make sure they only pay settlements for invalid cases.
In many cases, there can be delays due to the hours and availability of the insurance expert, especially during times when a significant number of other parties were affected by the same incident. Other times, your insurance company may just be waiting to get information from a police report or still be trying to track down the people who were at fault in your case.
There are many different reasons why your insurance company could be stalling, and some could be bad faith. In general, a brief conversation with an experienced attorney can shed some light on the situation.
When Should You Contact A Lawyer?
Not all insurers are bad; some reasons to quit are completely justified and may even benefit you in the end. However, stopping in bad faith and for no good reason is a serious red flag. If you have provided all the necessary documentation and information, fulfilled all your requests, and are still getting redirects? It’s time to hire a personal injury and accident attorney.
Even if you are not sure that your insurer is acting in bad faith, having legal representation on your side can help significantly with the entire process. Plus, you have someone who fights for you while you take care of your recovery.
Prevent the insurance company from getting stalling
Hopefully, the insurance company hasn’t been sitting still for so long that you have your back against the wall with uncertain deadlines. If that is you, it will be very difficult for you to find a lawyer to handle the case.
I say this because the only surefire way to stop an insurance company from shutting down is to show them you bite the bark.
How do you do that? With threats that are not empty, so wave your lawsuit sword. That sword is your lawyer.
If you are tired of the insurance company pulling on your chain, ask for a lawyer and get the help you deserve.