Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Hurricane Insurance Claims?
If a hurricane has blown you off course this year, you’re not alone. If your insurance company is giving you the run-around regarding your hurricane claim, unfortunately, you’re also not alone. It’s been an unprecedented year for natural disasters and insurance companies are going to be taking every effort to ensure that they can pay only the minimum of what they can due to the sheer volume of claims they are going to be facing.
Of course, as an individual policyholder with damages that needs to resolve the matter sooner rather than later, it may be tempting to accept whatever check the insurance company is prepared to cut to you and be on your way. However, that check may be quick for a variety of reasons including that the insurance company is betting that you will not stop to think much about what they are really offering compared to the damages that you have actually incurred. Working with a personal injury lawyer can help make sure you get the amount you deserve.
If you were able to take some time before the storm to document your assets and understand your coverage under your policies, you will be in a better position to bargain and negotiate with the insurance company when the time comes. This documentation can also be very handy upfront when filing the claim with the insurance company as it gives them better measurements of what exactly was lost. This is particularly true if you were able to document the damages you had after the storm and are able to identify specific damages based on your pre-storm photos.
However, if you were not able to get this documentation, it can put you in a more precarious position with the insurance company. That position is one of potentially having to accept the insurance company’s version of your damage and the replacement value. For smaller-value items, this may not seem like a big loss. If an entire house and its contents are involved, however, the stakes are much higher.
It can be helpful to have an attorney helping you with your insurance claim even before the storm, particularly when it comes to understanding the limits of your coverage and those pesky definitions of what is and is not included in that coverage. After the storm, an attorney is going to be that much more helpful especially if you are getting the impression that your damages amount to more than you are looking to get from the insurance company.
Here, an attorney can advise you on how to communicate with the insurance company, the demands or counter-offers to make to see about getting a better deal, and finally, if you’ve reached that point, to file suit against the insurance company over their treatment of the claim. At this point of the process, an attorney will have the ability to get documents and information from the insurance company that you may not have been able to, so as to get a better idea of what is really going on and if you have any means of recouping more of your losses than originally offered. At the very least, the attorney can then help you come up with a settlement offer to the insurance company to avoid trial but still recoup more of what you should be getting.