(U.S. Insurance Law) If you purchased an insurance policy, you trust that when it’s time to file a claim, your insurance company will be there for you. Accidents, injuries and natural disasters such as an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, fire, hail, flooding and lightning should all be covered under these policies. However, when an accident happens or a disaster strikes, or you may be surprised to find that you’re given the run around when it’s time to cash in on your claim.
Filing a claim should be simple, especially after you’ve been paying out hard earned money on your policy all of these years. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as turning in your claim and getting a check for the damages. An insurance company usually launches an investigation and sends an adjuster out to look over the problems. Many times an insurance company will try to limit the amount of money an owner is due and outright deny the claim.
The following are some of the tactics you should be aware of when it comes to denying or limiting your claim:
Delaying Your Settlement
Be aware if an adjuster tries to delay or ignore your claim. This is a tactic used by insurance companies in hopes of getting the owner to settle on a lower amount because they are frustrated playing the waiting game. An insurance provider may also wait to give you your check until they have received reimbursement.
Not Enough Coverage
You may have looked over your insurance policy thoroughly to ensure that you have the absolute maximum coverage on your property. Unfortunately when it’s time to file a claim, you find out that you don’t have adequate coverage, and your claim has been denied.
An insurance provider may also accuse the owner of filing a false claim and deliberately eliciting illegal activity. For example if you file a claim for fire damage, an insurance company may say that the owner purposely set fire to the property and committed arson.
Not Fully Understanding the Policy
When you met with the insurance company to go over your policy, you probably thought you understood the package that you signed up for. However, once you’ve filed a claim, you’re meant to feel like you’ve misinterpreted everything that is covered in your policy.
Owners that suffered damage in famous hurricanes such as Katrina and Sandy found out firsthand how difficult it was to reap money for the losses that they incurred. One homeowner had over $150,000 worth of damage to her home. When she filed her claim, the insurance company offered her a check for $40,000. Another business owner was paying into a policy for $300,000. When it came time to file his claim, the fine print read that his deductible was $16,000. Not only do many of these owners not receive the proper compensation, they have also had their policies quadruple from their original price.
There are a number of techniques an insurance company will try to do to deny or lessen your claim. Delaying your check keeps the money in their pockets for a longer amount of time and only frustrates you. This can constitute insurance bad faith, and you’ll need the help of an experienced and knowledgeable property insurance lawyer to file suit against the insurance company to help get what you deserve.
Legal researcher Shelby Warden had to deal with several of these tactics when trying to recover damages from a hurricane. When insurance companies delay payment or refuse to pay, property owners turn to the aggressive property insurance lawyer team at Doyle Raizner LLP because of their in-depth knowledge of state and federal insurance laws and established legal reputation. The firm has decades of insurance defense experience to challenge insurance companies who are focused on their own profits.