Failure to Cooperate With Insurance Company
One of the strategies an insurance company may use to avoid paying a claim is alleging that a claimant failed to cooperate with the insurer. Insurance companies will try anything to get away with denying, delaying, or underpaying policyholders’ claims. Maximize your odds of compensation by preventing this issue during your claim. Discuss your case with an attorney to know what to do if your insurance company says you’ve failed to cooperate.
Your Insurance Company vs. Another Driver’s
An important distinction to make as a claimant is whether Arizona law obligates you to comply with an insurance company’s commands. Arizona is an at-fault car insurance state. This means victims of a crash must look to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for damage recovery. Filing a claim with another driver’s insurer does not come with the same duties or responsibilities as a claim with your insurance company. If you’re calling someone else’s insurance company to file an accident report, the law does not require you to cooperate.
Calling your own insurance company to file a claim, however, does come with obligations for both the policyholder and insurer. The insurance company must act in good faith to address your claim and issue timely benefits, if applicable. In exchange, you have a legal duty to cooperate with the company when you file a claim. Every insurance policy comes with a written requirement in the contract stating that claimants must cooperate with the company on “presentation and evaluation of the claim.” Otherwise, the insurer has the right to deny coverage.
When talking to someone else’s insurer, feel free to withhold information (but not to lie), say no to settlement offers, and refuse to give recorded statements. These are your rights as a claimant who is not the policyholder at the company. In fact, attorneys recommend that you do these things when discussing your case with someone else’s insurance claims adjuster. Otherwise, the adjuster could use what you say against you. Someone else’s insurance company cannot hold your failure to cooperate against you.
When Is Failure to Cooperate a Legitimate Reason to Deny a Claim?
Your insurance company needs you to be honest and forthcoming with requested information after an auto accident, bad storm, or other incident. Otherwise, it cannot accurately evaluate your claim or issue fair payment. It is part of your legally binding contract with your insurance company that you agree to comply with its needs and requests during a claim. Auto insurance, health insurance, and homeowner’s policies all include similar clauses requiring client cooperation.
The best way to prevent a claim denial based on failure to cooperate is to do what your insurance company asks, without unnecessary delay. For example, your company may ask you to sign a form that releases your medical information or provide a list of your doctors. Giving the company the information it needs can help the process go smoothly and enhance the odds of your insurer accepting your claim. Sometimes, however, an insurance company may allege that you failed to cooperate even when you did as it requested. In these cases, contact a bad faith insurance attorney for assistance.