At the law office of Heath J. Thompson, P.C., our attorneys understand that the aftermath of a fire, hurricane or other casualty can be a stressful experience, especially when a valid insurance claim is denied or unnecessarily delayed. Insurance companies are fair weather friends. After paying years of expensive insurance premiums, business and homeowners expect that claims submitted for compensation will be honored. In some cases, this expectation has proven to be too high. We have witnessed insurance companies habitually deny and delay valid claims without explanation. Remember, they do not make money by paying out claims!
Heath J. Thompson has years of experience dealing with insurance companies and understand the tactics they may employ to avoid payment. His attorneys are committed to helping homeowners recover the compensation to which they are entitled.
How can an insurance dispute attorney help me?
If you file a claim which is not denied initially, your insurance company will likely launch an investigation to determine the cause of the fire or other casualty, the extent of the damage, and the value of the claim. Insurance companies are famous for blaming homeowners for the loss of the home, and may go to great lengths to hire special investigators to find reasons to justify that blame. We have access to resources which allow us to perform separate assessments, which can be used in negotiations and settlements with the insurance company, should a dispute arise. We work with experts to determine the cause of the fire, estimate the value of assets lost in the fire, uncover the extent of damage to the home that may be overlooked by the insurer, and estimate the value of your claim.
Please contact our office when making an insurance claim after your major property damage loss, especially when your insurance company wants:
- Financial documents
- A Proof of Loss
- A Contents Inventory
- An examination under oath
- Authorizations for documents
- An appraisal
- To conduct a special investigation
- To delay your claim
- To refuse payment in full
- To deny you benefits
Is the damage covered by my insurance?
The language in your policy will determine the damages that will be covered in the event of a fire, hurricane or other casualty. Some policies may cover damage only inflicted by the event itself, while others will cover problems stemming from the casualty including smoke and water damage and resulting code upgrades. Structural damage, wind damage, melting damage, roof damage, and plumbing and electrical damage may also be covered.
Why was my fire insurance claim denied?
As a for-profit entity, it is in the insurance company’s best interest to avoid payouts to policyholders; however, they must have a justifiable reason for denying a claim. Some common forms of unfair claims handling include:
- Undervaluing damaged property and excessive DEPRECIATION;
- Allegations of arson;
- Failure to investigate in a timely manner;
- Denial of a total loss claim despite supporting evidence;
- Threats to the insured in an attempt to lower the payout;
- A clear violation of the terms of the insurance policy.
What about arson?
Insurance companies may delay the valuation or payment of a claim to determine if arson played a role in the fire. Under many policies, if your insurer believes arson was the cause of the fire—and that you played a role—your damages will not be covered. It is important to know that the burden of proof is on the insurance company, and not on the homeowner. Without factual or circumstantial evidence, an insurance company which denies these claims may be in violation of the law.
If you believe your insurance company has wrongfully denied or undervalued your claim, the attorneys at Heath J. Thompson, P.C. may be able to help.
In most cases we handle the INSURANCE Claim cases on a contingency fee basis. This means zero out of pocket legal expense to you. We do not get paid until the case is settled.
Plus, if the insurance company is treating you unfairly, the law may force them to pay legal fees in addition to the damages they owe you.
Because so many consumers experienced claims problems in the wake of natural disasters, we urge homeowners dealing with losses caused by the fires to be vigilant with their insurance companies and seek help to ensure that they receive a full and fair settlement. We can help ensure you get the maximum amount to which you are entitled. Call us at 757-480-0060.
Why should I hire an attorney to help me with my property insurance claim?
Insurance policies are drafted by insurance companies and riddled with loop holes intended to benefit insurance companies. Navigating the language in a policy in an effort to digest coverages, exceptions to coverage, and addendum to coverage is an extremely tedious, complex endeavor that even judges have difficulty with. To be sure your claim is handled properly and you get all the benefits you are entitled to while avoiding pitfalls to coverage, you should retain an attorney experienced and knowledgeable in handling property damage insurance claims.
Can I trust my insurance company’s adjuster to help me with my claim?
NO! Your insurance company’s adjuster works for your insurance company–NOT YOU. Your insurance company’s adjuster’s job is to limit the amount your insurance company pays you on your claim and to look for any way to minimize your damages and deny you benefits you are entitled to under your policy.