Oldsmar Hurricane Damage Lawyer
Last year’s hurricane season saw a record 18 storms and six hurricanes, some of which wreaked havoc on the homes of thousands of Florida residents. Fortunately, many of these individuals had insurance policies that covered the cost of repairing the property damage they suffered during the storms. However, a number of claims were also unfairly denied, leaving homeowners with no way to pay for necessary repairs. If you find yourself in this situation and have questions about holding your insurer accountable for the use of unfair or deceptive practices, please contact our experienced Oldsmar hurricane damage lawyers to learn more about your legal options.
Examples of Bad Faith Practices
First party bad faith insurance claims are claims levied against a policyholder’s own insurer for failing to cover the cost of hurricane damage. A person can file this type of claim when there is evidence that his or her insurer failed to attempt to settle claims in good faith or did not act fairly and honestly towards the insured. Bad faith practices can take a number of different forms, including:
- Wrongfully denying benefits;
- Failing to compensate a policyholder adequately;
- Failing to reply to a claim in a prompt manner;
- Failing to conduct a thorough and timely investigation into a claim; and
- Denying a claim without articulating the reason for doing so.
This type of conduct can have serious consequences for property owners, especially those affected by hurricanes. Fortunately, insurers can be held liable for this type of conduct if a policyholder can prove that:
- The damages in question qualify for coverage under the terms of the contract; and
- The insurance company’s handling of the claim didn’t meet the expectations outlined in the policy or contract.
This can be a daunting prospect, making it especially important for those who sustained hurricane damage last year, but whose claims were unfairly denied by an insurer, to speak with an attorney who can review the details of the claim and negotiate with the insurer on their behalf.
What to do Before Filing a Claim
There are a few steps that property owners can take to help support a bad faith insurance claim down the road, including:
- Immediately reporting the damage to their insurer;
- Taking reasonable steps to protect the property from further storm damage;
- Document existing damage with photos and video;
- Create a written inventory of the damages;
- Make copies of all documents sent by their insurer;
- Save receipts for expenses related to damage or repairs; and
- Keep a written journal of communications with their insurer.
Taking these precautionary steps can make all the difference in the outcome of a bad faith insurance case. Policyholders should also be sure to carefully review their policies and if they do decide to file a claim against their insurer, to comply with all filing deadlines. For instance, under Florida law, insurers can refuse to hear a person’s claim for loss or damage caused by a hurricane if the claimant did not file a claim within three years of the storm. To ensure that your own claim is not denied due to a failure to file a timely claim, please contact our legal team today.
Contact an Oldsmar Hurricane Damage Lawyer
If you need help evening the playing field in negotiations with an insurer who has unfairly denied your hurricane damage claim, please don’t hesitate to call one of the experienced bad faith insurance lawyers at the Pawlowski // Mastrilli Law Group.