How Do I Prove Bad Faith in Florida?

Homeowners and their insurance companies are bound to each other by contractual commitments. Both you as the policyholder and your insurance provider must fulfill certain obligations as part of your relationship, like you paying your premium on time and your insurance company investigating any claims you may file. 

Most of the time both parties hold up their ends of the agreement, but there are instances when an insurance provider may not. When this happens, it may mean you’re experiencing bad faith.

What is Bad Faith?

Bad faith is when an insurance company fails to fulfill its obligations to the policyholder in a fair and reasonable manner. It involves acting dishonestly, unfairly, or with improper motive when handling a claim. Fla. Stat. § 624.155 governs bad faith insurance law in Florida. 

How to Prove Bad Faith

As is the case with all legal proceedings, you must gather evidence and be able to demonstrate wrong-doing on the part of your insurance provider when making a bad faith claim. Good documentation is key as is partnering with an experienced insurance law attorney.  

Proving bad faith in Florida involves demonstrating that the insurer failed to fulfill its obligations to you, the policyholder, in a reasonable and fair manner. Here are a few examples of bad faith practices and steps you can take to prove bad faith.

  • Failing to investigate promptly – Insurers must promptly and thoroughly investigate claims. If an insurer fails to investigate a claim in a timely manner or ignores crucial evidence supporting the claim, it can be evidence of bad faith.
  • Unreasonably denying benefits – If the insurance company denies a valid claim without a reasonable basis, it could be considered bad faith. This might include misinterpreting policy language, applying exclusions in an unreasonable manner, or ignoring facts that support the claim.
  • Offering a lowball amount – Offering substantially less than the value of the claim without a valid reason for doing so can indicate bad faith. Insurers are expected to make fair and reasonable offers based on the policy terms and the extent of the covered loss.
  • Delaying payments – Unreasonable delays in processing or paying a valid claim can be evidence of bad faith. Insurers are required to handle claims promptly and efficiently, though they do have 90 days to make a determination.
  • Misrepresenting – Providing false or misleading information to the policyholder regarding coverage, benefits, or the claims process can constitute bad faith.

To prove bad faith, it’s crucial to document all communications with your insurance company. Hang on to letters, emails, texts and claim documentation. Keep records of phone calls and any other interactions you have with your provider. It can also be useful to gather third-party opinions from experts such as engineers or contractors. These experts can provide insights into the damages and the insurer’s handling of the claim, which can strengthen your case.

It’s also advisable to seek guidance from an experienced insurance law attorney. Proving bad faith in Florida requires a thorough understanding of insurance law, evidence gathering, and legal procedures. Our team at Kandell, Kandell & Petrie can assess your case, advise you on the best course of action, and represent you in negotiations or court proceedings. Contact our team today to speak to one of our claims advisors in Miami to discuss your needs.