The Texas Insurance Code Provides Remedies if Payments Are Delayed

Insurance premiums are one more obligation that responsible people remit every month to protect against losses involving automobiles, homes, businesses and health. When policy holders have paid what was due and then unexpected events trigger that insurance coverage, they have every right to expect what they paid for and not have to experience delays in payment.

When an insurance company fails to make good within a reasonable period, the inconvenience can cause tremendous setbacks to a family that has just suffered house damage in a hurricane or needs a new vehicle as soon as possible due to a car accident. Fortunately for Texas insurance policy holders, they have protections that extend beyond the terms of the insurance policy itself.

Section 542.058 of the Texas Insurance Code provides for legal damages in the event of delayed payments. If payment is delayed for more than 60 days (or other applicable statutory deadline) after a policy holder has submitted all required items, statements and forms, the insurer is liable for the amount of the claim, accrued interest at a rate of 18 percent per year and attorney’s fees. When insurance companies drag their feet, policy holders have recourse to hold them legally accountable.

Delays of claim payments are one area of insurance law that has featured prominently in recent years, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and other devastating storms. A free initial consultation with an insurance claims lawyer can help you assess whether you have experienced an unreasonable delay and what remedies may be available.

Best of all, asserting your right to justice will cost you nothing if the law firm you work with handles your case on a contingency basis. This means that you pay no fees if you do not prevail. And under Texas law, if your claim is successful, the insurance company must pay your legal fees.

Delayed insurance payments are just one type of a variety of insurance bad faith litigation that an attorney can advise you about. Disputes over the value of damaged items, wrongful claim denials or failure to properly investigate a loss are all matters that may indicate that an insurer has failed to act in good faith as required by law.