February 12, 2024
In a perfect world, everyone would get their insurance payout within a few days of filing their claim. We don’t live in a perfect world, though.
If you’ve ever filed a claim with an insurance company, you know that it can take weeks, months, or sometimes even years to receive a payout. In some cases, it might even feel like the insurance company is intentionally delaying your claim.
What Happens During the Insurance Claim Process?
One reason why insurance companies can take so long to pay out is that the claim process can be pretty complicated. Here are the typical steps involved:
Connecting with the Insurance Company
The first step is always getting in touch with either your or the responsible party’s insurance provider. This is the beginning of the claim filing process.
Investigating the Claim
It can take quite a while to investigate an accident, especially when it comes to determining liability for the accident. The insurance company has to collect information about the claim, review evidence, and carry out other tasks to ensure the claim is valid and make a plan for moving forward with it.
Reviewing Insurance Policies
If multiple parties are involved in the accident, the insurance company may need to review and interpret several different policies to figure out how much to pay out. Insurance policies are generally long and complex, so it can take time to go through each one.
The insurance provider will also need to evaluate the damage caused by the accident. Sometimes, this evaluation includes meeting with medical experts and other professionals to determine the value of your payout. These meetings can add to the amount of time it takes for the company to pay out.
After evaluating damages, the insurance company can begin making payment arrangements. This seemingly simple step can cause significant delays, in part because the payment may come from multiple places.
Dealing with Contested Claims
The settlement process can also be delayed if the insurance company disputes your claim. If they do this, you may need to provide additional proof or even file a lawsuit to get the payout you’re owed.
Why Do Insurance Companies Take So Long to Pay Out?
Put simply, insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They want to make as much money as possible, and paying out claims eats into the amount of money they make.
Unfortunately, some insurance agents engage in bad faith practices, including tactics to delay insurance claim payouts, to avoid paying out large sums to those who deserve them.
Signs Your Insurance Company Is Delaying Your Claim
How do you know if your insurance provider is intentionally delaying your claim or just going through the standard hurdles associated with handling a claim? Here are some common delay tactics an insurance agent/company might use:
- Taking a long time to respond to a claim
- Continuously asking for more information over a period of weeks or months
- Losing your paperwork or frequently sending you more forms to fill out
- Unexpectedly changing insurance adjusters
- Requesting extensions without providing a clear or sensible reason
- Avoiding calls, emails, or other forms of communication.
When these things happen, the reason isn’t always that the insurance company is trying to avoid paying your claim. However, if multiple issues like those listed above are taking place, that’s a red flag.
What to Do if Your Insurance Company Is Taking Too Long
If your insurance company is taking a long time to pay out, or if you suspect that they’re intentionally delaying your claim, it’s time to take action.
Here are some steps you can take if your insurance company is taking a long time to pay your claim:
Ask for a Timeline
Sometimes, if you reach out to the insurance company and ask for a timeline or an update on your claim, they can give you more insight into what’s happening and why it’s taking so long. Pay careful attention to what the insurance agent says when you reach out; save any correspondence they send (such as emails or letters) so you can reference them later if needed.
Hire a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
If you’ve taken the above steps and still haven’t seen any results, it might be time to hire a bad faith insurance lawyer and file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
What to Look for in a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
If you’ve decided to sue an insurance company, you’ll need a bad-faith insurance lawyer on your side. Keep these factors in mind when deciding which lawyer you want to hire:
- Experience: Look for a lawyer who has experience working with insurance companies and handling bad-faith insurance providers.
- Previous Successes: Find out the results of past bad faith insurance cases the lawyer has taken on — ideally, they will have won several previous cases and produced significant payouts for their clients.
- Price: Find out how much the lawyer charges for their services, as well as how they charge (Do they charge a flat fee, work on a contingency basis, etc.?).
- Client Testimonials: Client testimonials can tell you a lot about a lawyer and whether or not they’re a good fit for your particular case.
Contact Doug Terry Law Today
Why do insurance companies take so long to pay out? Sometimes, it’s for legitimate reasons. In other cases, though, they’re acting in bad faith and intentionally delaying your claim.
Do you think the latter situation is happening to you? Do you need a bad-faith insurance lawyer in Oklahoma?
If so, Doug Terry Law is here to help. Contact us online or call 405-463-6362 today to schedule a consultation.