If everyone were to act in good faith, there wouldn’t be a need to ask – what can you do if an insurance company is stalling? Unfortunately, the world is what it is and insurance companies do intentionally prolong the claims process.
Fortunately, you have recourse. In this article, we will explain how you can tell if an insurance company is acting in bad faith and discuss the tactics you can employ to get them to pay you what you are owed.
But before we get to that, let’s delve a little deeper and find out the motivation behind an insurance company stalling.
Why Would an Insurance Company Stall?
For some, it might come off as strange that an insurance company would stall intentionally. After all, it’s not like your one settlement will make them go bankrupt. And they’ll have to pay you eventually, right?
Well, there are many practical reasons an insurance company might employ stall tactics and it all boils down to one simple thing – money. Here are a few ways insurers hope to save money by stalling the settlement of an insurance claim.
- By Making You Give Up – your insurer might use stall tactics hoping to frustrate you to the point of simply giving up. While it may seem like nobody would just walk away from their insurance claim, it happens more often than you think. This typically happens with smaller claims, like a broken window or dented fence. Sometimes, people don’t want to go through an overly frustrating process and, at some point, no longer believe it’s worth the wait. So, they simply walk away – which is what an insurer is hoping for.
- By Making You Settle for Less – similarly to hoping that you’ll abandon your claim, an insurer might hope you’ll settle for less just to end the process. And when you need money relatively quickly to fix the damage that was done to your property, this stall tacit has a good chance of success. Even if settling for less means that you will have to pay for a part of the repairs out of pocket.
- By Hoping That Evidence Gets Lost – another reason an insurance company might employ stall tactics, and this is usually done for larger settlements, is in the hope that evidence will be lost or destroyed during the wait. Insurance claims involve a lot of documentation, some of which might simply get misplaced if enough time passes. Similarly, any witnesses to the incident might no longer recall the events or just become unreachable. In total, the passage of time works in favor of the insurance company, not vice versa.
We’ve just listed three reasons why an insurance company might stall intentionally. But not everything is done in bad faith. Sometimes, insurance adjusters are simply not good at their job. They might not understand the laws or policies that are applicable to your case, even when they are.
This can easily delay your case much longer than necessary. But, even if the delay is due to incompetence and not malice, you still have every right to pressure the insurance company to settle your claim promptly.
Not Everything Is a Stall Tactic
Here, we should note that just because your claim is taking longer than expected does not necessarily mean it’s done as a stall tactic or out of incompetence. There are many fraudulent claims and insurance companies need to do their due diligence. Yes, even when your insurance claim is 100% valid.
It also might be due to scheduling conflicts, i.e., they have no available adjuster to work on your case. This may happen when a large number of people are affected by the same incident and the insurance company needs to process all of those claims. So, just because your claim is taking some time does not mean you should go in guns blazing.
First, try to look for signs that your insurer is intentionally stalling.
What Are Some Signs That Your Insurer Is Using Stall Tactics?
There is no hard and fast rule that you can use to determine that your insurance company is intentionally stalling. However, a combination of the following signs is a good indicator that you may be dealing with bad-faith actors:
- They continually ask for more documentation
- They ask for documentation that is irrelevant to your case
- They continue asking for additional statements from your service providers
- Their adjusters not responding (or not responding within a reasonable time frame) when you try to contact them
- Continually changing adjusters for your case
- Explaining the laws and policies applicable to your case in a misleading manner (they will rarely outright lie)
- Unreasonably delaying reviews or decisions
If two or three of these things are constantly happening during your claims process, you can be reasonably sure that your insurer is not acting in good faith. Which means that it is time for you to put some pressure on them.
Tactics You Can Employ if Your Insurance Company Is Stalling
So, what can you do if your insurance company is stalling? Employ as many of the following tactics as you can:
- Contact your insurer to ask them if they require any documentation to proceed with your claim. Don’t wait for them to string you along by asking for additional documentation one at a time.
- Take care of any evidence that can support your claim. Be very careful not to misplace documents. Your safest bet is to have physical copies of everything and digital copies that you upload to the cloud for safekeeping.
- Regularly contact the insurance adjuster to ask how your claim is progressing. You might get your claim settled in a fair manner just because adjusters don’t want to deal with persistent clients. So be persistent. Additionally, keep a log of your calls and their answers, if you need them at a later date.
- Get estimates from multiple reputable service providers regarding the damages that need to be fixed. This is the best way to know if your insurance company is lowballing you once they give you an offer.
- Submit a complaint in writing that your claim is taking too long. Insurance companies are legally obligated to settle claims in a reasonable manner. A formal complaint will get their attention and you can use it as additional evidence if it comes to litigation.
- Get your attorney involved or hire a public adjuster. A public adjuster and a private adjuster are not the same. The private adjuster is the one your insurance company hires to investigate claims. They work for your insurer. A public adjuster is one you hire and they work to settle claims in your favor.
We should also mention that you should cooperate with your insurer. It won’t do any good if they are acting in bad faith, but you can typically speed up the claims process if you deliver any documentation they ask for, answer their calls, and show up for appointments. Not every insurance claim is a fight.
What To Do if Your Insurance Company Is Stalling, Summarized
Here is what you can do if your insurer is stalling, in short:
- Make sure they are intentionally stalling;
- Provide any documentation they ask for promptly;
- Be persistent and contact your insurer for updates;
- Keep evidence supporting your case safe;
- Get multiple appraisals;
- Write a formal complaint;
- Involve a public adjuster or an attorney.
Experienced Public Adjuster at Your Disposal
At Elite Resolutions, we are experienced public adjusters that know how to deal with insurance companies that use stall tactics. We handle claims for all types of residential and commercial damage. It is our job to make sure that you are compensated fairly and in a timely manner.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about how our services can help you or ask for a free consultation and get the ball rolling.