Man holding disability claim form for insurance.

How to Deal With Unfair Treatment From Your Disability Insurance Company


Dealing with a disability insurance company can be challenging, especially when you believe you are being treated unfairly. This comprehensive guide will explore various aspects of handling unfair treatment from your disability insurer and provide you with essential information to help you navigate the process.

Understanding Your Disability Insurance Policy

Before addressing the unfair treatment, it is crucial to understand the details of your disability insurance policy. Familiarize yourself with your policy’s terms, conditions, and benefits. Disability insurance policies can be divided into two main types:

Employer Group Disability Plans

These plans are generally less expensive but offer fewer benefits than individual disability insurance plans. They are regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which provides policyholders the right to appeal a denial of benefits and sue the insurance company for bad faith.

Individual Disability Insurance Plans

These plans are more expensive but can be tailored to the policyholder’s needs. ERISA does not regulate individual disability insurance policies but is subject to state and federal laws that offer policyholders more legal options in case of unfair treatment.

Recognizing Unfair Treatment by Disability Insurance Companies

Unfair treatment by disability insurance companies can take various forms. Some examples of bad faith on the part of an insurance company may include:

  • Denial of insurance benefits due as outlined in the policy
  • Misrepresentation of benefits and features of a disability insurance policy
  • Failure to acknowledge receipt of a claim
  • Denial of a claim without explanation
  • Delay or failure to approve a claim
  • Failure to promptly or properly investigate a claim
  • Delay or failure to pay benefits after approving a claim
  • Offering a policyholder less money than their claim is worth
  • Non-disclosure of policy benefits
  • Unreasonable conditions (such as requiring multiple forms from healthcare providers, repeated exams, requiring policyholders to seek Social Security Disability benefits, etc.) to obtain benefits

Suppose you suspect unfair treatment from your disability insurance company. In that case, it is essential to consult with an experienced disability insurance lawyer to review your case and determine if there has been a violation in the terms of your policy.

Taking Action Against Unfair Treatment

If you believe your disability insurance company has unfairly treated you, it is crucial to take immediate action to protect your rights and benefits. The following steps can help you address the situation:

Document All Communications

Record all communications with your insurance company, including phone calls, emails, and letters. This documentation will be useful when discussing your case with a lawyer or presenting evidence in court.

Gather Supporting Evidence

Collect medical records, employment records, and any other documentation that supports your disability claim. This evidence will be crucial in proving your case and demonstrating the unfair treatment by the insurance company.

Consult with a Disability Insurance Lawyer

An experienced disability insurance lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process and protect your rights. They can examine your policy, determine if there has been a violation in the terms of your policy, review the insurance company’s investigation of your claim, and identify any misrepresentations of benefits.

Legal Options for Addressing Unfair Treatment

The legal options available to policyholders who have experienced unfair treatment by their disability insurance company depend on the type of insurance policy they hold. Below are the legal remedies for each type of policy:

Group Disability Plans (ERISA)

Policyholders with group disability plans regulated by ERISA can appeal a denial of benefits. After exhausting the appeals process, they can sue the insurance company for bad faith. In an ERISA lawsuit, damages are limited to the amount of benefits owed and legal fees.

Individual Disability Insurance Plans

Policyholders with individual disability insurance plans have more legal options when dealing with unfair treatment. Lawsuits can be filed in state and federal courts and can be decided by a judge or jury. In addition to fraud, policyholders can sue for breach of contract. Damages are not limited to the amount of disability benefits owed; they can also include damages for mental anguish, legal fees, and even punitive damages.

Filing a Complaint with a Regulatory Agency

If you believe your disability insurance company has mistreated you, you may also file a complaint with the appropriate regulatory agency. This is usually the state’s Department of Insurance or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in the United States. Contact the regulatory agency in your state to learn more about the complaint process and the steps involved.

Seeking a Settlement or Negotiation

Sometimes, it may be possible to resolve the issue with your disability insurance company through a settlement or negotiation. This approach can help you avoid the time and expense of a lawsuit. An experienced disability insurance lawyer can help you navigate this process and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.

Going to Court

If all else fails, going to court may be your only recourse. This process can be lengthy and costly, but it may be necessary to obtain the disability benefits you are entitled to. An experienced disability insurance lawyer can represent you in court and advocate for your rights against the insurance company.

Preparing for the Future

Regardless of the outcome, it would help if you prepared for the future after dealing with unfair treatment from your disability insurance company. This may involve:

  • Seeking alternative sources of income
  • Adjusting your lifestyle to accommodate your disability
  • Pursuing additional medical treatment or rehabilitation
  • Considering additional insurance coverage or policy options


Dealing with unfair treatment from your disability insurance company can be a difficult and stressful. However, by understanding your policy, recognizing the signs of bad faith, and taking appropriate action, you can protect your rights and ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Consult with an experienced disability insurance lawyer to help you navigate this complex process and secure the best possible outcome for your situation.