Litigate Or Legislate? When To Complain To Your State Government, And When To See A Lawyer
When an insurance company gives you the runaround, you may not know what the most effective way to get them to behave would be. There's a department in your state's government that oversees insurance companies, or you could sue. Depending on the situation, one may be more appropriate than the other.
When the Insurance Company Isn't Meeting Their Terms
You pay insurance premiums for a certain amount of coverage that pays out in certain situations. If you are in a situation that qualifies according to the terms of your coverage, the insurance company should pay out as the policy dictates. If the insurance company refuses to pay that out though or tries to lower the amount it will pay out, that's in bad faith. You can complain to your state's insurance department first as a way to nudge the insurance company into doing the right thing. If that doesn't work, then you should consult an insurance litigation attorney.
When Your Costs Outweigh the Coverage
If the problem is that you've been in an accident and have bills that far outweigh the coverage that the insurance policy is supposed to pay out, but the responsible party's insurance company has paid out everything the policy requires it to, then you need to see a lawyer instead of contacting the state insurance department. After all, if the insurance company is following the policy, it's not really doing anything in bad faith. But that doesn't help you and can leave you in a bad situation because you weren't in control of choosing coverage for another person's insurance policy. If the case involves personal injury, you'd likely speak with a personal injury attorney. But if the costs stem from anything else, like damaged property, an insurance litigation attorney may be able to help you.
When the Insurance Company Won't Comply With Court Decisions
This is when you pull out all the stops and use both methods, and then some. Maybe you've just been through a grueling personal injury case, and you won. The other person's insurance company has to pay up, but then you hear nothing. The court will have its own procedures for going after the money, and you should follow those if possible. However, you should also file a complaint with your state's insurance department and (yes, and) speak with an insurance litigation attorney about what to do next. If the insurance company isn't paying out a court-ordered amount, then someone there is truly unwilling to listen to reason. You and the lawyer need to work out a plan.
There are insurance companies that pay out and that comply with court verdicts without a problem. But if you encounter one that seems to give you nothing but trouble, speak with an insurance litigation attorney now. Don't give up.
Contact an insurance litigation lawyer near you for more information.