Denied, Delayed or Underpaid Insurance Claim? Claim Excellence
Hurricanes are frightening and devastating storms that often leave behind an expensive trail of property damage. Understandably, life after such a destructive force can be both confusing and scary for those affected.
Though many people have insurance coverage for losses stemming from hurricanes, the insured often encounter problems with their insurance company and thus are unable to recover the full amount they are due. When dealing with issues such as underpayments, unfair denials, and unreasonable delays, policyholders are not often aware that they have the right to fight back against these insurance companies that act in bad faith.
If you need assistance with a difficult hurricane insurance claim, call The Cook Law Firm at (361) 541-4551. Our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help both residential and commercial property owners that have been unfairly treated by their insurance companies.
Steps to Take After a Hurricane
After a hurricane, your first priority should always be to check if your family members and loved ones are safe. Afterwards, thoroughly inspect both the exterior and interior of your property. If there are dangerous conditions on your property such as downed power lines, notify the authorities right away and continue investigating for damage.
Itemize and document the damages you suffered, as this is key in both proving and obtaining compensation under a hurricane insurance claim. Include photographs of the damage when possible, and take note of details such as the damaged item’s date of purchase and approximate value. Keep all receipts for related expenses, such as immediate repairs that needed to be done, meals, and temporary accommodations.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible as conditions can change quickly. Though insurers usually handle claims on a first come, first served basis, let them know if there are circumstances that require immediate attention.
Avoid cleaning up, discarding damaged items, and making extensive repairs until after the insurance adjuster has visited your home or business. If you absolutely need to discard certain items for safety reasons, however, take photographs of these before throwing them out.
It is crucial that you stay organized when filing a hurricane claim. Write down the names and positions of everyone you speak to regarding your claim, as well as other details such as the time and date of your call, what was discussed, reference numbers, and claim numbers.
When Insurance Companies Act in Bad Faith
In every contract with an insurance company, the law enforces what is known as an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. This helps hold insurance companies accountable for their actions by requiring them to act fairly when it comes to both evaluating and paying claims. If the insurance company acts in bad faith—essentially breaking this implied covenant—then the insured may opt to bring a civil action or tort claim against them.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for putting their own financial interests first, and may take advantage of unsuspecting policyholders by shortchanging them or cutting corners.
Common acts of insurance company bad faith include:
- Delaying payment
- Inadequate investigation of your claim
- Claiming that your loss isn’t covered when it actually is
- Claiming your loss was caused by something else
- Intentionally dragging out the process
- Attempting to get you to accept less than your claim’s full value
- Purposely misinterpreting the language in your policy
- Failing to explain the denial of your claim
You may be entitled to pursue compensation from an insurance company that has acted in bad faith, particularly if you’ve suffered substantial damages resulting from their actions. If successful, you may not only be provided with the amount in your initial insurance claim, but also compensated for emotional distressed caused by their actions, as well as punitive damages.
Call The Cook Law Firm Today
Many victims of hurricanes are desperate to receive compensation quickly, and insurance companies are often tempted to take advantage of the circumstances to save time and money. If you think what the insurance company is offering you is too low, do not hesitate to get professional help to evaluate the offer.
At The Cook Law Firm, we have the expertise to help you deal with your hurricane claim. If you feel that your insurance company is treating you unfairly in the wake of a hurricane, call The Cook Law Firm, PLLC at (361) 541-4551 to work with legal counsel and determine the best course of action to take. We will stop at nothing to ensure that you are given the full compensation you need and deserve.