President John F. Kennedy wrote a revolutionary Consumer Bill of Rights in 1962 which would have given Americans the new rights to be safe, informed, able to make good choices, and be heard as consumers.
The U.S. Congress never approved it but the Texas Department of Insurance fortunately created its own version for insurance policyholders. The Texas Bill of Rights gives you rights that help you when you are:
- Buying insurance
- Cancelling or not renewing a policy
- Filing a claim on your insurance
- Enforcing your rights
Furthermore, insurance companies are prohibited from discriminating against you or unfairly using credit information to decide who to insure or how much of a premium to charge.
Did your automobile liability company give you a copy of the Texas Consumer Bill of Rights along with your policy? If it didn’t, it has already violated one of your rights as the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) requires all insurance companies to issue a copy to all of its policyholders.
The Texas Bill of Rights is not part of your policy but your insurance company must nonetheless abide by the rules it contains. It is extensive and filled with important information. You should review it before buying or amending your policy or if you think you have been treated unfairly.
When you are filing your claim and enforcing your rights as a consumer, how does this help you?
You have these rights
After you filed your claim after you were in a car accident, did your insurance company delay you without giving you a straight answer?
Did it try to pressure you into settling or low ball you? And did it never even pay you? These are just some of the ways an insurance company may have violated the Texas Consumer Bill of Rights.
You have the right to
- Be treated with honesty and fairness;
- Reject the settlement offer your insurance company offers;
- Negotiate a settlement or pursue arbitration, mediation, or litigation;
- Know why your insurance company rejected your claim;
- Have your claim processed and paid in a timely manner;
- Receive interest and attorney’s fees for delays;
- Bring your car to the mechanic of your choice;
- Obtain the recovery of your deductible from the at-fault driver;
- Receive notice that your insurance company plans to settle a claim against your policy; and
- Refuse to give your insurer information not related to your claim
What should you do?
If your insurance company didn’t follow these rules, now what? In addition to pursuing your personal injury damages, a personal injury lawyer can hold the insurance company accountable for its bad faith in the handling of your claim.
Our office can file a complaint with the TDI and send a letter to your company and demand your that it immediately rectify the problem. This often gets the job done. But if your insurer still doesn’t treat you fairly or if its conduct has already caused you damages, we can sue the insurer for its bad faith.
The burden is on the insurance company to prove an exclusion applied to your policy or other reason for denying you coverage. The excuses your agent might have made to you are invalid without evidence. If the company fails to meet its burden of proof, you may be entitled to compensation under your insurance policy and additional damages caused by the insurer’s bad faith conduct.
If you have been injured in a car wreck in Fort Worth and are not being treated fairly by the insurance company, schedule an appointment with Berenson Injury Law to find out. Your appointment is free so there is no risk to learning about your rights and remedies.