Can I receive punitive compensation for bad faith?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I receive punitive compensation for bad faith?

I have a claim open with my homeowners insurance. They have paid for the property damage but will not respond to my request for reimbursement for Additional Living Expenses. I have a letter from my insurance carrier stating they approve the cost of alternate housing during repairs. I sent my insurance carrier my lease agreement and proof of payments. My insurance carrier is now ignoring me. If I sue, could I have a case for bad faith?

Asked on December 5, 2018 under Insurance Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, while you could get the living costs if entitled to them under the terms of your policy, you cannot get punitive damages. This is a contractual claim--a case based on them not honoring their contractual (an insurance policy is a contract) obligations. The law does not provide punitive damages in breach of contract cases.

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