What is Insurance Bad Faith?
When you buy an insurance policy, whether it is home, auto, life, or disability, you enter into a contractual agreement in which your insurance company is supposed to provide services and coverage for qualifying claims in exchange for your payments. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always live up to their end of the bargain. When this happens, it may be said that the insurance company is acting in bad faith.
INSURERS MAY BE ACTING IN BAD FAITH WHEN THEY:
- Deny that a valid claim is covered under your policy
- Delay investigation of the claim
- Delay communications about your claim
- Delay payment of the claim
- Pay only partials benefits for the claim
- Fail to provide prompt and reasonable explanations for the denial or partial payment of your claim
- Shuttle you from department to department
- Misrepresent facts
When any of the above events occur, it is time to wonder if the company has acted in bad faith and breached Colorado law.
Colorado Insurance Bad Faith Law
In Colorado, when your insurance company does not treat you fairly, statutory remedies for unreasonably delaying or denying covered benefits are provided in C.R.S. § 10-3-1104, the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. This law is designed to protect you if an insurance company unreasonably denies or delays your home, auto, health, or disability claim. In Colorado, insurance companies are legally required to promptly acknowledge and investigate your claim, respond quickly to your communications, not swamp you with unnecessary paperwork, and give valid reasons for delays or denial. In order to be found liable, an insurance company’s actions must be found to be below the standard of care or unreasonable given the circumstances.
RECENT CASES IN COLORADO
Several recent cases have provided victories to Colorado plaintiffs and further developed the legal landscape for bad faith cases:
- Shultz v. GEICO – Insurance companies may not manufacture evidence to support their earlier decisions.
- State Farm v. Fisher – If a portion of an insured’s claim is in dispute, the undisputed portion must still be paid.
- Nibert v. GEICO – Insurance companies may still owe damages for unreasonably delaying benefits, even if they eventually pay them.
If an insurance company is found liable for of acting in bad faith or violating Colorado statutes, Colorado plaintiffs may receive double or triple damages, including attorney’s fees.
IF THEY AREN’T PLAYING FAIR…
Colorado insurance companies have plenty of motivation to treat you well. In case they don’t, you can help yourself tremendously by being a good record keeper. Keep records of your phone calls and correspondence with the insurance company. If an adjuster is unhelpful, speak to their supervisor. Document your bills and financial losses.
Remember, your insurance company is contractually obligated to provide you with the services you have purchased from them. However, they are more concerned about their bottom line than your bank balance.
Is Your Insurance Company Giving You the Runaround?
CALL AN INSURANCE BAD FAITH LAWYER
If you believe that your insurance company is treating you unfairly, it is time to call an experienced bad faith lawyer. At Shafner Law, we know how to make insurers live up to their obligations. We can evaluate your situation and provide a way forward.
For a free consultation, call Shafner Law at (303) 796-0555 or fill out the Case Form below.
Additional Insurance Bad Faith Resources