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A guide to good faith in insurance

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Blog, Insurance Law

Insurance offers protection against all sorts of events. It requires contracts to ensure the insurer and the insured have certain rights and obligations.

The term “good faith” often accompanies conversations about insurance coverage. Understanding this concept is key to addressing potential conflicts and disputes.

What is good faith?

In the context of insurance, good faith implies that both the insurer and the insured act honestly and fairly toward each other. This principle forms the foundation of the insurance contract. It also governs the behavior of both parties throughout the insurance process.

Application in insurance

Good faith operates in various stages, starting from the initial application for coverage to the handling of claims. When applying for insurance, the insured must offer accurate information about themselves and their risk profile. Likewise, the insurer must provide truthful information about the terms and conditions of the policy.

Disclosure of information

One of the key aspects of good faith is the duty of disclosure. This means that both parties have an obligation to disclose all material facts that could affect the contract. For example, if the insured fails to disclose relevant information about their health when applying for health insurance, it could result in the denial of health coverage or the voiding of the policy.

Claims handling

Good faith also comes into play when handling claims. The insured must report any damage covered by the policy promptly and honestly. Similarly, the insurer must investigate the claim and make a fair assessment based on policy terms. Acting in bad faith, such as unreasonably delaying or denying a valid claim, may lead to legal consequences.

Consequences of breach

Failure to act in good faith can have serious consequences for all parties. If the insured breaches the duty of disclosure, the insurer may refuse to pay a claim or cancel the policy. On the other hand, if the insurer unfairly denies a claim, they may be subject to legal action.

Good faith is the cornerstone of the insurance relationship. By upholding this principle, both parties can navigate the insurance process with confidence and integrity.