Hurricane Harvey recently swept through parts of Alabama. Take the following steps to help you navigate the often complex residential or commercial insurance claims process:
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the claim. This is a very important step, even if your insurer’s claims center says it’s unnecessary to call in your claim. The faster you report the intention to file a claim, the easier and more precisely you or your attorney can tie the claim to the specific severe weather cause. Some insurers don’t provide you with the legal duty of prompt acknowledgment of the claim. Others attempt to underpay, delay, or deny your valid claim.
- Document your claim. This means document everything. Keep precise records of your interactions and conversations with the insurance company. Write down the names of any representation with whom you speak. Write down the context of each conversation.
- Keep contacts specific to the severe weather damage. Provide precise documentation of the damage. Include videos, photos, and other proofs of temporary steps you took to limit additional property damage. Provide all receipts. This step will help to ensure that the insurance company provides a fair and accurate investigation. Never discard a damaged item or make “premature” property repairs if possible. Although it’s your right to mitigate property damage, do everything possible to allow the insurer to conduct its evaluation as soon as possible.
- Obtain a second opinion. Your insurer’s estimate might not accurately represent the extent or amount of property damages. Obtain trusted experts, including accountants, contractors, and engineers to provide an estimate for necessary repairs.
- Hire legal counsel. If the insurer fails to promptly investigate the claim, asks for mountains of documentation to pay a valid claim, argues that the damage sustained from a covered event is “old damage,” or exhibits other bad faith behaviors, it is time to consult an experienced bad faith insurance attorney. For additional information, see our pamphlet, “Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with the Insurance Company on Your Property Claim.”
Johnstone Carroll, LLC represents home and business owners. We’ve seen the disruptions, damages, and devastation caused by severe storms and hurricanes. Our bad faith insurance team has represented many clients against insurers that attempt to delay or avoid paying for legitimate property damage claims. If you suffered property damage after Hurricane Harvey, we want to ensure that you’re fairly treated by your insurer. Contact us at 205-383-1809 or via our online contact form to discuss questions or concerns about your residential or commercial damage claim.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.