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Bellevue Washington Insurance Law Blog

Claims can be denied due to paperwork problems

When you are dealing with a serious physical injury or damage to your vehicle or your Washington home, you want your insurance claim to be processed as soon as possible. However, something as simple as a wrong birth date on your insurance claim can cause an insurer to deny your claim. Sometimes frustratingly simple paperwork errors can drag out your claim process or cause you to be denied altogether.

Nerdwallet points out transcribing errors can cause insurers to deny claims. It does not take more than a small typo in your personal information to derail the approval process. For instance, you might be born in the year 1979 and have listed it as such on your claim form. However, an insurance staffer incorrectly transcribed the year as 1997. Staffers might also erroneously transcribe details like your full name, your home address or your alternate mailing address.

Insurance companies' duties to policyholders

If you file an insurance claim in Washington, you have a right to expect that the insurer will process the claim in a timely manner and pay out damages according to the terms expressed in the policy. Sadly, however, that is not always what happens. We at Lepley Law Firm have seen insurance companies unfairly deny claims or unreasonably delay processing or payment of the claim. When insurers behaves in this way, they have acted in bad faith, and you have the right to seek compensation beyond the initial claim.

According to FindLaw, insurance companies owe a number of duties to their policyholders and may face bad faith litigation if they fail to fulfill any of them. 

Home insurance costs affected by climate change

Wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters exacerbated by climate change are causing billions of dollars in property damage every year, and the devastating trend could push home insurance premiums out of reach for homeowners in certain high-risk areas. 

Last Friday, the government released a report warning of more widespread extreme events occurring more frequently and with more intensity. Recent history seems to bear these predictions out, as the last four years alone have seen six of the 10 most destructive wildfires in California history. With the increase of natural disasters related to climate change has come a commensurate increase in home insurance premiums. As of 2015, the latest year for which data is available, insurance rates have risen 50 percent since 2005. 

Will I get a new car if I total mine?

No one need tell you that becoming involved in a Washington car crash is a terrible experience. Even if you are lucky and neither you nor your passengers suffer injury, the damage to your car can be extensive, leaving you with major repair costs, or worse yet, a totally destroyed car.

Many auto insurance policyholders believe that if they total their car, their insurance company will replace it with a new one. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. As Insurance.com explains, your insurance company likely will provide you with a brand new car only if the one you totaled was less than three months old. If your car was older than that, what you receive after totaling it depends on the insurance coverage you carry.

Your insurance claim was denied: what now?

Dealing with matters of insurance can be a headache regardless of what sort of issues you're facing. If you're dealing with the denial of an insurance claim, it can be one of the most stressful situations, since you could be depending on the insurance to help you through your crisis.

FindLaw takes a specific look at the things you can do following the denial of your insurance claim. First, they examine the potential reasoning behind the denial of claims. Most cases of denial are related to one of the following issues:

  • The insurer believes fraud may be involved
  • Your claim was not made in time
  • The coverage limits were either met or exceeded
  • The injury you suffered from was not covered by the insurance policy you have

Understanding insurance bad faith

If you are like most people in Washington, you probably have an auto insurance policy to cover your loses in the event you suffer injuries as a result of an accident. You likely also faithfully pay your premiums on time. You therefore expect your insurance company to pay any claim you make and to defend you if someone sues you after a car crash. The last thing you expect is to have to fight with it to get the coverage you paid for.

Unfortunately, however, your insurance company may not always live up to your expectations. If it doesn’t sufficiently pay your claim or sufficiently represent you in a lawsuit, it may be guilty of bad faith and you may have a claim against it.

Avoid these common mistakes that delay a claim

When you file an insurance claim, you want to resolve it and receive compensation for your injury as soon as possible. However, the process of filing an insurance claim can be long and tedious, filled with bureaucratic red tape.

Fortunately, there are a few things that you can avoid to help your claim move as quickly as possible. These are a few commonly made mistakes that can delay insurance claims.

Tips for avoiding a health insurance claim denial

Medical expenses are one of the leading causes of consumer debt for residents of Washington and the rest of the nation, and in some cases, patients face far higher bills than they anticipated. In some cases, patients mistakenly believe that their health insurance companies will cover certain procedures or treatments, but they soon find out their insurers have no plans to do so, leaving them on the hook, financially, for considerable amounts. At the Lepley Law Firm, we recognize that many insurers deny health insurance claims for similar reasons, and learning what those reasons are may help you avoid having your own claim denied.

According to NerdWallet, one of the most common reasons insurance companies deny health insurance claims is because patients use out-of-network health care providers. Essentially, this means you elected to receive treatment from a medical provider who has not agreed to your insurer’s terms, and your insurer can deny your claim because you did so. The easiest way to avoid this is to stick strictly with in-network health care providers.