·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


How is Insurance Company Bad Faith Defined in New Hampshire?

— June 6, 2022

The problem is that insurance policies are written in such a way that they make little sense to regular people, not trained in legal matters.

Almost all responsible homeowners in New Hampshire have home insurance. If you have a mortgage, home insurance is mandatory, but generally people take out insurance because they want to be covered should anything bad happen. Unfortunately, in their hour of need, many policyholders discover that the insurer won’t have their back. If your claim has been delayed or unjustly denied, it’s time to look up some experienced New Hampshire homeowners insurance claims denial lawyers and let them sort things out.

When can you accuse a New Hampshire insurer of acting in bad faith?

When dealing with an insurance company, the most common problems faced by homeowners in New Hampshire are unreasonable delays and wrongful denials. Both can constitute grounds to accuse the insurer of acting in bad faith.

If your house was damaged by fire or flooding you need money for repairs and you need it now. Under New Hampshire law, an insurance company must acknowledge receipt of notice of claim within 10 working days, preferably in written form. Also, they are required to start investigating your loss within 5 days. These short delays were imposed precisely because legislators understand you’re in a difficult situation. At the same time, such regulations were adopted to protect the rights of policyholders who are basically at the mercy of the insurance company.

According to the law, the insurer has 30 days from the receipt of your claim to make a decision. The tricky part is that they can also ask for a 30-day delay, and then another one, and so on. In each case, the insurer needs to give valid reasons when asking for a delay. If they keep asking for useless documents containing information you already submitted, a good insurance claims lawyer in Manchester, NH, can accuse the insurer of acting in bad faith.

At the same time, you can accuse the insurer of acting in bad faith if your claim is denied under false pretexts. For instance, if the policy was altered or cancelled after making a claim your lawyer will want to know why. 

Should I negotiate with the insurance company myself?

Unless you have extensive knowledge of insurance laws this is not advisable. If you’re not sure why it’s best to leave it to a skilled lawyer, try reading the text of your insurance policy, all of it, including the fine print because, as you well know, the devil is in the details.

Image of a home leveled by a tornado, surrounded by debris.
EF4 tornado damage in Lee County, Alabama, on March 3rd, 2019. Public domain image by the U.S. National Weather Service, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

If for instance the insurer denies your claim arguing that the specific damage to your house is not covered you will have to comb through the text to see if that’s actually true. As you’re about to discover, insurers are not above making things up if that means they get to keep the money. And it’s a lot of money if your house was gutted by fire. 

The problem is that insurance policies are written in such a way that they make little sense to regular people, not trained in legal matters. Insurance companies can afford good lawyers to cover their tracks and it will take equally good lawyers to unravel the complex web of lies and misinterpretations they use to deny your claim or minimize the value of your damages. However, when a seasoned lawyer steps in they will probably change their attitude, claim it was all a big misunderstanding and offer to settle, all to avoid going to court and have their dishonest tactics exposed. 

Join the conversation!