People generally buy insurance for one reason: to protect themselves and their families. What do you do when you make a legitimate claim but the insurance company delays or denies payment? Many who find themselves in this situation feel helpless. They expected the insurance company to protect them, but instead they need protection from the company.
In this situation, it is important to know your rights. New Mexico law gives policyholders several important legal rights. These rights can be found in the New Mexico insurance code or in the common law as developed through judicial opinions. Consumer protection statutes, such as the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act, may also apply.
If an insurance company violated these laws in handling your claim, then you may be entitled to additional damages. Important questions to ask include:
- Did the insurance company conduct a fair and thorough investigation of the claim?
- Did the insurance company adequately explain the basis for its decision?
- Is the insurance company's decision based on the policy as written?
- Did the insurance company make a fair offer of settlement?
- Has the insurance company treated you honestly and fairly at all stages of the process?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,' then you may have a claim for insurance bad faith. An attorney who handles insurance bad faith cases can discuss these questions as well as others and help you decide whether to pursue a case.