If you’re unsatisfied with the service received from your insurance company, then you may want to file a complaint.
Each state has strict rules governing how insurance companies operate. If you feel your insurer has broken these rules, then the insurance company may face serious consequences.
There are often multiple ways to resolve issues when you have a complaint against your insurance company. Keep reading to find out what you can do and how to file a complaint against an insurance company.
Why File a Complaint Against an Insurance Company?
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why policyholders file official complaints against insurance companies. Some of the most common reasons include:
- The insurance company is dragging its feet, taking too long with your claim, or refusing to respond to calls or emails
- The insurance company has denied your claim without a valid reason
- The insurance company has offered a disappointingly low payout and is refusing to budge
- An agent or adjuster of the insurance company has treated you improperly during the claim process
- An agent or adjuster has actively taken steps to sabotage your claim
These actions may sound extreme, but they occur every day across the United States and insurance companies are repeatedly found to be acting in bad faith. Unfortunately, many policyholders simply accept these actions and assume there’s nothing they can do.
That’s why each state has an insurance commission in charge of regulating insurance companies.
Steps to Take Before Filing An Insurance Complaint
There are many legitimate reasons to file a complaint – including all of the reasons we mentioned above. However, there are also certain steps you may want to take before filing a complaint.
These steps can solve your problem and avoid the need to file a complaint. Or, these steps can help your insurance claim get processed and you can still file a complaint.
First, we recommend speaking with people of authority at your insurance company.
Make sure your communications are through email so you can keep a detailed record of your attempts and any responses you’ve received, or haven’t received. Insurance companies will sometimes deny that they have received communication or spoken with anyone about your concerns.
There are people at your insurance company who may be able to resolve your claim. You may have had a bad relationship with a specific adjuster who was in a bad mood the day he/she inspected your property, for example. A different adjuster might have a totally different opinion on your claim.
If you are at all considering hiring a Public Adjuster for an insurance claim, we recommend talking to them before you take any further steps. A good public adjuster can help advise you on your options, assist with filing a complaint, and provide guidance on the next best steps, all with your best interests in mind.
Before contacting your state’s insurance commissioner for insurance problems, we recommend speaking with:
- Your claims adjuster and/or their manager
- The insurance broker or agent and/or their manager
- The ombudsman of your insurance company
By reaching out to the people above, you can legitimately say that you’ve made your best effort to resolve the situation with your insurance company. All of the above individuals have some authority within your insurance company. They can explain why your claim was denied or why you’re experiencing other issues with your claim.
Start by speaking to the customer-facing employees. Contact your claims adjuster or your insurance agent or broker. If you don’t get anywhere, then contact the supervisors or managers one level up.
If you feel nobody is listening to your complaint, or if your insurance company is refusing to budge on anything, then you can take things to the next level by contacting your state’s insurance commissioner and department of insurance.
What is a State Insurance Commissioner?
It’s within your rights as a policyholder to make a complaint to your state’s insurance commissioner.
Each state has a different insurance commissioner. The state insurance commissioner is a public official who regulates the insurance industry in each state.
If there is a problem in the insurance industry, then the commissioner is able to investigate the issue and take steps to resolve it.
Ultimately, the insurance commissioner’s goal is to enforce the state’s insurance laws. Many states have laws governing how long insurance companies can take to respond to your claim, for example. Virtually every state has a law requiring insurance companies to pay your claim in a “reasonable” length of time.
If your insurance company has broken your state’s insurance laws, then your state’s insurance commissioner will want to hear about it.
How Does a State Insurance Commissioner Help?
State insurance commissioners receive thousands of complaints every year. Most of these complaints involve issues like:
- Disputes between policyholders and the insurance company
- Complaints over how one’s insurance claim was handled, denied, or resolved
- Complaints over how an insurance policy was advertised or marketed
- Other perceived violations made by the insurance company over how they handled a claim, dealt with policyholders, or marketed their products and services
Each state’s insurance commissioner will enforce the state’s rules. The insurance commissioner can penalize insurance companies, force insurance companies to pay claims, and take other actions to resolve a policyholder’s complaint.
How to Contact Your State Insurance Commissioner And File An Insurance Complaint
Each state has its own Department of Insurance and its own process for filing an insurance complaint. Almost every state has a system in place for filing a complaint online.
If you are ready to file a complaint against your insurance company, select your state from the dropdown below to find a link where you can view your state’s information to begin filing your complaint.
If you have questions, need help, or are unsure about filing a complaint for an insurance claim, contact a Public Adjuster for help.
What You Need When Filing a Complaint
You can’t very successfully accuse an insurance company of wrongdoing without any proof. Your state’s department of insurance will want to see documented evidence of wrongdoing.
Here’s some of the documented evidence you may want to collect before filing a complaint:
- Records of phone conversations with the insurance company
- Printouts of emails with your adjuster or agent
- Photographs or videos of damaged items and property
- Names of any brokers or adjusters you spoke with at the insurance company
- The name of the insurance company and your policy number
The more documentation you have, the more likely your complaint will be taken seriously. If you have significant evidence that your insurance company has done something wrong, then your state’s department of insurance will have no choice but to step in.
What Happens Next With Filing Insurance Complaints?
After filing a complaint with your state’s insurance commissioner, the commissioner’s office may contact you and ask for additional clarification. You may be required to provide additional evidence, for example, or answer basic questions about your claim.
Next, the insurance commissioner will typically take things to the next level by contacting your insurance company.
Your insurance company must respond to the insurance commissioner’s request within a pre-determined length of time – say, 14 to 21 days. The insurance company may be asked to justify the reason for denying your claim, for example.
If the insurance commissioner believes the insurance company’s response was not adequate, then then your case will likely be taken over by a state-designated person who will work with you and your insurance company to resolve the issue.
If your insurance company has an adequate response – like a valid reason to deny your claim – then your complaint may be dropped.
Consider Hiring a Public Adjuster to Quickly Resolve Insurance Claim Complaints
Even if your state’s department of insurance assigns a person to resolve your claim, that person cannot represent you in your claim or provide legal counsel. For that reason, some policyholders will choose to hire their own attorney or public adjuster – particularly for high-value insurance claims with lots of money at stake.
A public adjuster is a licensed insurance professional dedicated to maximizing the value of your insurance claim.
The public adjuster works on behalf of you – the policyholder. Yes, your insurance company will send an adjuster to investigate your claim, but this adjuster is a salaried employee of your insurance company. The adjuster is dedicated to minimizing your payout as much as legally possible. This adjuster represents the interests of your insurance company – not you.
A good public adjuster can often double or even triple your insurance payout, and in many cases, an adjuster is the difference between a claim getting denied or approved.
Put simply, hiring a public adjuster shows your insurance company that you mean business and gives you an expert insurance professional on your side.
Some policyholders hire a public adjuster as soon as they file a claim. Others hire a public adjuster after making a complaint to their state’s insurance commissioner.
Final Word on Insurance Complaints
If you feel your insurance company has not treated you fairly, then you have the right to file a department of insurance complaint in your state.
Each state has its own insurance laws. These laws govern how long an insurance company can take to respond to your claim. If your insurer has broken your state’s insurance laws, then you may wish to file a complaint with your state’s insurance commissioner.
View contact information and instructions on filing a complaint for each state’s department of insurance below.
Or, contact ClaimsMate to hire a public adjuster. A public adjuster can maximize your insurance payout and solve your tricky insurance problems.
File an insurance complaint in California
File an insurance complaint in Connecticut
District of Columbia
File an insurance complaint in DC
File an insurance complaint in Iowa
File an insurance complaint in Louisiana
File an insurance complaint in Massachusetts
File an insurance complaint in Minnesota
File an insurance complaint in Mississippi
File an insurance complaint in Missouri
File an insurance complaint in New Hampshire
File an insurance complaint in New Jersey
File an insurance complaint in New Mexico
File an insurance complaint in North Carolina
File an insurance complaint in North Dakota
File an insurance complaint in Pennsylvania
File an insurance complaint in Rhode Island
File an insurance complaint in South Carolina
File an insurance complaint in South Dakota
File an insurance complaint in Tennessee
File an insurance complaint in Washington
File an insurance complaint in West Virginia
File an insurance complaint in Wisconsin