Dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating even at the best of times. But when an insurance company stops returning your calls about a pending claim, it can quickly become infuriating. Unfortunately, this is a common tactic used by some insurance companies to delay or deny legitimate claims.
If your insurance company is giving you the silent treatment on a claim, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to get them to respond and process your claim fairly. Here’s what to do when an insurance company is not responding to your claim.
Follow Up Persistently
The first step is to persistently follow up with the insurance company by phone and in writing. Be sure to document all your attempts to reach them.
Call the claims adjuster handling your claim. Leave voicemails if you can’t reach them directly. Follow up daily or every few days until you get a response.
Escalate to a supervisor. If the adjuster is unresponsive, ask to speak to their supervisor or manager. Explain that you have made multiple attempts to reach your adjuster with no response.
Send written follow ups. In addition to calling, send letters or emails following up on your claim. Include your claim and policy numbers, a brief summary of your situation, and your previous attempts to reach them.
Update your contact information. Confirm the insurance company has your current phone number and address in case their lack of response is due to out-of-date info.
Document your efforts. Keep detailed records of who you spoke with, when you called, emails sent, and any responses received. These records will prove useful if you need to escalate the issue or file a complaint.
Persistence is key. Insurance companies know many claimants will simply give up if ignored long enough. Don’t let them get away with it.
Send a Demand Letter
If repeated contacts don’t yield a response, it may be time to get legal representation involved by sending a demand letter.
A demand letter is a formal written request asking the insurance company to pay or respond to your claim. It should provide details on the claim, the policy, and damages, and request a specific settlement amount.
While you can draft a demand letter yourself, it often carries more weight if it comes from an attorney. Insurance companies know that an attorney demand letter could be a precursor to legal action, so they tend to respond promptly.
File a Complaint with Your State Insurance Regulator
Every state has an insurance regulatory agency that oversees insurance companies and handles consumer complaints. If an insurance company is stonewalling you on a claim, file a formal complaint with your state’s insurance regulator.
To file a complaint, you’ll need to provide details on:
- Your insurance policy and claim
- Attempts you’ve made to reach the insurer
- How long they’ve gone without responding
- Any communications you’ve had with them
The regulatory agency will contact the insurance company on your behalf to investigate the complaint. This can light a fire under recalcitrant insurers to get them responding to your claim.
Consult with an Insurance Attorney
If an insurance company is clearly acting in bad faith by ignoring your claim, it may be time to have an attorney send a demand letter or even file a lawsuit against them.
An insurance attorney can advise you on your state’s bad faith insurance laws and whether legal action is warranted. They can file a lawsuit to compel the insurance company to respond to your claim.
Even just hiring an attorney can be enough to get the insurance company to start communicating with you again, as they will want to avoid the legal fees of litigation if possible.
Strategies to Get Insurance Companies to Respond to Your Claim
Here are some additional tips and strategies for getting unresponsive insurance companies to pay attention to your claim:
File a claim with your state insurance guarantee fund – If the insurer is insolvent or going out of business, this state fund may step in to pay claims.
Report them to the Better Business Bureau – The BBB allows you to file complaints about companies for unresolved issues like non-response.
Leave online reviews detailing your experience – Negative reviews calling out an insurer’s lack of response can impact their reputation.
Contact media consumer watchdogs – Consumer reporters at local TV stations or newspapers may be interested in investigating.
Post on social media – Share your experience on the company’s social media pages to draw public attention to the issue.
Switch insurance companies – Non-renew with that insurer and let them know it’s because of their poor claims response.
The more attention you can bring publicly to an insurer improperly ignoring claimants, the more incentive they have to respond and make things right.
Signs an Insurance Company is Acting in Bad Faith
Not all delayed responses equate to bad faith. Legitimate reasons for an insurer’s lack of communication could include workload, catastrophes, or outdated contact info.
However, here are some clear warning signs an insurance company may be intentionally stonewalling or acting in bad faith:
They have gone months without responding at all
They acknowledge receiving your claim but cease communication
They refuse to provide any clear reason for delaying your claim
They deny your claim without proper investigation
They make repeated requests for information you’ve already provided
They alter policy terms to avoid payment
They lowball offers well below actual damages
They deny claims based on minor technicalities or errors
If you encounter actions like this, it is time to be more aggressive in pressing your insurer to resolve your claim properly and fairly.
When to Hire an Insurance Attorney
Here are some good times to seek legal representation from an insurance attorney:
The insurance company stops communicating with you after initially acknowledging your claim.
The insurance company denies your claim outright without cause.
Delay tactics drag on for several months.
Your claim is improperly denied as excluded, when that exclusion shouldn’t reasonably apply.
The insurer refuses to disclose the basis or criteria for denying your claim.
The insurance company makes an unreasonably low settlement offer compared to your damages.
You believe the insurance company is acting deceptively or in bad faith.
An experienced insurance attorney can often resolve these situations through aggressive negotiation or litigation when necessary.
Don’t Let Insurance Companies Ignore You
While frustrating, know that you have options when an insurance company gives you the silent treatment. Diligent follow up and seeking legal representation quickly are key to getting them to properly handle your claim. With persistence and help from a lawyer, you can compel them to resolve your claim fairly.
What If The Insurance Company Does Not Respond By The Demand Deadline?
What to do if insurance company ignores you?
What happens if someone doesn t respond to an insurance claim?
How long does an insurance company sends an answer for a claim?
What happens when insurance company won’t settle?