When a loved one dies, fighting with the insurance company is about the last thing the family wants to do. Funeral costs, coupled with the emotional distress of a lost loved one can lead to overwhelming stress. It is also no secret that even in the event of the loss of a person's life, medical costs can be incredibly heavy. With all of these costs added up, the financial weight can be difficult for a family to bear. One recourse available to them, however, is life insurance.
What Is Life Insurance?
Life insurance is insurance that covers for losses that are suffered in the event of a person's unexpected death. Typically a life insurance plan will focus on covering lost income, funeral costs, and the like. Much of the time, a person's life insurance policy will have specific terms for what is covered in the event of death and will provide a set amount that the insurance company will pay upon the settlement of a claim.
Common Reasons To File Life Insurance Claims
The obvious cause of a person filing a life insurance claim is the death of a loved one, however, there are specific reasons related to the death that would cause a family member to file a life insurance claim.
- Accidents: One of the most common causes of death in the United States is a death caused by an accident. Whether it is on the road, at work, or somewhere else, deadly accidents are unpredictable and leave a person's family wondering where to turn next. The loss of a family member coupled with the loss of any property involved in a destructive accident can be devastating and may lead to filing a large life insurance claim.
- Medical Costs: When a person loses his or her life, in any event, the medical costs involved are likely to be incredibly high, even if they pass away in hospice care. Life insurance can help cover a person's final medical costs in the event of their passing.
- Funeral Costs: Funerals can be expensive for any individual. This can be costly to a family who only wishes to see their loved one laid to rest. A person's life insurance policy may have coverage for their funeral costs.
- Loss Of Income: One of the primary reasons for a person to obtain life insurance is to ensure that his or her family and loved ones will be protected in the event of an untimely passing. Life insurance can help a family get back on their feet once a loved one passes away.
Common Causes of Life Insurance Disputes
While life insurance will typically have a set amount to be paid to the consumer, an insurance company may wish to pay them less or wish to investigate the matter further before providing coverage to the insured individual. This can lead to a dispute between the insured and the insurance company. Some common reasons for disputes may include:
- Amount Of Coverage: When a person files a life insurance claim, they typically have a maximum and minimum amount of coverage provided with a set deductible. Insurance companies may dispute the amount they wish to pay, even if there is a policy in place for a set amount.
- Investigations: At times, an insurance company may wish to investigate a person's claim further. Life insurance policies sometimes can have large payouts, so the company may wish to conduct its own investigation before paying. The delay can create a stressful situation for the surviving family of the recently deceased, and can also be the source of a dispute in the claim. As one example, in a case where we represented a family in a case involving the death of their mom, the insurance company tried to claim that there were misrepresentations in the application for insurance, but we were able to prove there were no misrepresentations and obtain a recovery.
- Policy Limits: Insurance companies may try to debate a person over the limits of their policy and what is covered. A life insurance policy is meant to provide coverage in the event of a person's death, but life insurance companies may take issue with what type of death is covered and whether or not the circumstances of that person's death can be payable as a claim. This can lead to a serious dispute between the two parties. Sometimes, insurance companies may assert that the insured person put false or incorrect information in the application for insurance.
- Bad Faith Dispute: By law, an insurance company is required to act in "good faith" to its policyholders. This means that if a policy is set up, an insurance company must agree to pay according to the terms of the policy, or else they may be acting in "bad faith." Bad faith disputes can happen with many different types of insurance.
How Can I Dispute My Life Insurance Claim?
When a dispute arises with regard to your claim, whatever the source, the best way to handle a disputed claim is through legal counsel and representation. Insurance companies may try to get their customers to settle a claim as quickly as possible. While most insurance companies' offers are often reasonable, they are not always the best offers. An attorney's guidance and action can help you reach a more favorable settlement. Also, insurance laws can be complicated and having a lawyer's assistance can be valuable.
Will My Life Insurance Claim Go to Court?
Many insurance companies will attempt to avoid litigation. The litigation process can be costly and difficult for an insurance company, and harmful to their reputation. An attorney involved can help push them to either a favorable settlement or if necessary, take your dispute to court and defend your right to compensation.
Georgia Life Insurance Dispute Attorneys
If you or a loved one is involved in a life insurance dispute, don't accept an unfair settlement. Contact the Gautreaux Law Firm today for a free consultation on your case.