Insurance is complicated, and having a private disability income claim denied or underpaid can feel overwhelming. Read on to learn what you need to know and what options you have in this situation.
Benefits & Risks of Disability Insurance
Although private disability insurance is costly, its expense is justified by many who view it as a preventative measure. Having this kind of insurance should give one peace of mind, knowing that even if something happens to prevent them from working, they will still have an income.
But sometimes, even when an insured person becomes disabled by illness or injury that should be covered by the insurance, the company denies their claim, leaving the newly disabled person without vital funds.
Insurance Bad Faith
If an insurance company denies your claim or substantially underpays you, it may qualify as an act of insurance bad faith. A common problem with all types of insurance companies, bad faith is generally defined as unreasonable or unfair conduct on the part of an insurance company. Denying a reasonable claim, failing to conduct a proper investigation, and intentionally delaying payment are all considered bad faith.
Getting Legal Help
Since many people trust insurance companies or view them as authorities, such acts often go uncontested. However, if this happens to you, you don’t have to accept it. In fact, if you disagree with the meaning of a term in the insurance policy, you can even contest it in court. In many cases, hiring a disability insurance attorney is the best course of action. Always choose someone you feel comfortable with and who is sure to communicate the details of your case with you.
Insurance Companies’ Motives
Although they tend to be portrayed as helpful, altruistic institutions, insurance companies often don’t have your best interests at heart. Ultimately, they are trying to pay you as little as they can get away with. Since insurance adjusters are skilled at what they do, and they realize insurance is quite complicated for the average person, you will be at a distinct disadvantage if you try to negotiate with them directly. Instead, working with an experienced insurance bad faith lawyer will give you the best chance of a successful claim. Aware of their power and advantage over you, the adjuster will likely try to discourage you from consulting a lawyer, who will fight for you.
SSDI vs. Private Disability Insurance
An important thing to remember about disability is that private disability insurance is different than Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is one of two disability programs provided by the SSA on a federal level. SSDI and private disability insurance are not mutually exclusive: if you qualify for SSDI and pay for private disability insurance, you should receive payments from both, in the event that you become legitimately disabled. Some insurance companies may pay less if you receive SSDI, so that’s not necessarily grounds for a bad faith claim.
If you are unsure about your situation and whether you should contact a lawyer, you can learn more about disability insurance and claim denials here.
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