There is an ongoing series of state-wide insurance claim disputes regarding what have been described as fraudulent total loss declarations in Illinois. Vehicle owners claimed that numerous insurers around the state had undervalued their cars using CCC Information Services, Inc.’s total loss computer valuation service. These undervaluations had led to a series of damaged vehicles being declared total losses – erroneously, as the plaintiffs contended.
Some of these cases have been successful, while others have been dismissed and others are still in court. Although in some of the matters, it still remains to be proven whether the insurers are guilty of any wrongdoing, the Illinois total loss litigations are a clear demonstration of how insurance companies can sometimes act in bad faith, and why consumers need to be able to turn to experienced insurance claim lawyers.
Does Insurer’s bad faith conduct cause legal action?
If indeed the allegations against the Illinois insurance companies are true, then they have acted in very bad faith, manipulating the valuations of the vehicles they insure so as to avoid honoring claims. This is one, rather drastic example of the kind of things that insurers can sometimes do to lessen their liability and increase their profit margins.
What are common automobile insurance claim disputes?
Insurance claim disputes arise all the time, and they are not usually as dramatic as the Illinois class actions. The most common insurance litigations involve a variety of denial disputes. These are cases where a customer lodges a claim and the insurance company either completely or partially denies it. Reasons for the denial might include clauses in the policy that exclude the exact circumstances of the claim; injuries, procedures or incidents that are not covered by the policy; lapses in coverage; or incomplete information within the claim or policy. When insurance companies deny claims on these grounds, they may not necessarily be doing so accurately or honestly, and might simply hope that the customer will accept their low payout or flat denial.
One thing that insurance companies sometimes do, is to cover the value of the car but then pointedly ignore such expenses as sales tax and other fees. The customer is then left to cover these expenses themselves. There isn’t any justification for this omission on the part of the insurance companies; and it really just constitutes a way to cut back on their liability to their clients.
What type of insurance dispute can turn into a legal action?
Aside from automobile insurance claim disputes, insurers and their customers can clash over a wide range of other matters, including:
- Residential property claims
- Business insurance claims
- Commercial property insurance claims
- Health insurance claims
- Life insurance claims
- Hurricane insurance claims
- Hotel or restaurant damage claims
- And many more.
Expert lawyers assist with legal related matters
Most of the time, you will probably go through life without any disputes with your insurers. There are times, however, when you file a claim, only to find that the response of the company to whom you have been paying premiums for years is far below what you expected. You need to remember that insurance companies’ first priority is their drive to maximize profit. That means minimizing liabilities wherever possible, which could mean paying you less than you deserve. If you are ever faced with unfair treatment by your insurer, you need an experienced insurance claim lawyer on your side.
If you have owned or leased a vehicle that was totaled while covered by an auto insurance policy in the past five years, and your insurance company either refused your claim, underpaid it, or did not cover the sales tax and other fees, you may qualify for a car insurance class action lawsuit. Contact Shamis & Gentile to book a free consultation.