Written by attorney Donald Joseph Banovitz

Insurance Company Reviews & Ratings: Checking Bad Faith Record

Check an insurance company’s reviews and ratings regarding its bad faith record to better protect yourself and any future claims you might file with your auto insurance company. One of the biggest complaints stems from an insurer not making good on its contractual obligations. This is known as a bad faith insurance practice.

Resources for Checking Insurance Company Reviews, Ratings & Complaints

The Division of Insurance at the Department of Regulatory Agencies in Colorado provides consumer information on all types of insurance, including automobile. You can access its Annual Report on Consumer Complaints against Insurers for 2010-2011 for the most current information.

In fact, you will learn that complaints are the highest when it comes to auto insurance. Nearly 93 percent of the complaints filed stem from private coverage.

One of the underlying components of a bad faith claim is an unwarranted denial of coverage. Recent reports indicate this complaint ranks number four. Delays are another common reason to file a bad faith claim, which currently rank as the number-five complaint.

The following are the top 10 auto insurance companies that receive the most consumer complaints:

  • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company;
  • Farmers Insurance Exchange;
  • American Family Mutual Insurance Company;
  • Progressive Direct Insurance Company;
  • United Services Automobile Association;
  • Progressive Preferred Insurance Company;
  • Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company;
  • USAA Casualty Insurance Company;
  • Safeco Insurance Company of America; and
  • Bristol West Insurance Company.

Fight Bad Faith Insurance Companies also provides a ranking of the top 50 bad faith insurers and top 50 good faith insurers. This not only can help you avoid going with the wrong company, but also assist in choosing a reputable one.

Finally, there is something to be said about word-of-mouth. You may have heard family or friends share insurance company reviews and ratings regarding companies who haven’t honored their policies or who make the claims process easier.

Signs of Bad Faith Insurance

The primary purpose of considering insurance company reviews and ratings is to avoid cases in which the company acts in bad faith. When you have paid premiums, you expect the insurance company to fulfill its obligations. Bad faith is acting in a way that your claim isn’t handled properly.

The following are some signs of bad faith insurance practices:

· a claim payment is unnecessarily delayed, denied or diminished;

· the investigative process is excessively lengthy;

· notification of covered claim isn’t prompt or acknowledged at all;

· policy language is incorrectly interpreted or misrepresented;

· denial or approval of a claim isn’t given within a reasonable amount of time;

· refusing to settle third-party claims within the limits of the policy;

· despite liability being clear, refusing to settle fairly;

· altering a policy without the insured’s knowledge;

· withholding information or evidence that would be in favor of the claimant; and

· denial of claim without a reasonable explanation.

Not every dispute with an insurance company’s settlement offer or decision to deny a claim stems from bad faith. But if you can prove that the company is guilty of bad faith insurance practices, additional compensation may be available.

D.J. Banovitz has handled insurance claim disputes. Remember, you can contact our law office if you would like to file a personal injury claim or a claim after experiencing bad faith insurance practices. Considering insurance company reviews and ratings regarding complaints and bad faith may help consumers who are purchasing a policy or preparing to file a claim.

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