Under Montana unfair settlement law, your automobile insurance company owes you a duty to act fairly and in good faith. If your insurer handles your claim with deceptive, unfair or unreasonable practices, you have the right to seek justice.
In Montana, you may bring a complaint before the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, and you may take your dispute to court if you need to resolve the dispute.
Rights and responsibilities
Among your insurance company’s obligations are the responsibility to act honestly and in a timely manner to address your policy and claim. They must use reasonable standards for investigations and decisions, and they must investigate the claim thoroughly and properly before issuing a denial. If you do receive a denial, you have the right to request a clear explanation of the reason.
State law obligates them to pay your claim if it is “reasonably clear” that your policy should cover it. They must also pay you according to the terms they advertised for your policy. Your insurance company must notify you if your coverage changes or if they cancel your claim.
Disputes and recourse
If your insurance company is acting in bad faith toward you or mishandling your claim, you should still begin by making every effort to negotiate with them. Record all contact in detail, and know that it is your right to seek a legal professional during this process. Being able to show that you did due diligence to negotiate with your insurance company can only help your claim.
If you are unable to come to a fair agreement, you may file a complaint with the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance for the Office of the Montana State Auditor. It is their responsibility to make certain that your insurance company complies with the law and to investigate your complaint against the company or agent.
In some cases, you may need to bring your case to court and seek damages. If the judge agrees that the insurer has dealt with you in bad faith, he or she may order the company to pay some of all of your legal fees. If the court does not satisfactorily resolve your dispute, you still may be able to seek an appeal with an appellate court.