When a hurricane strikes, most people are in a state of shock. Along with worrying about how to repair or rebuild their homes, they are also simply trying to get by from one day to the next. Unfortunately, while most of these damage claims made by homeowners seem as if they should be paid for with little difficulty by insurance companies, that is not the case. In fact, many companies will do almost anything to keep from paying out for claims associated with hurricane damage. As a result, many people are left wondering what to do next. If you find yourself in this situation, the next step should be to hire an attorney who specializes in handling cases involving hurricane damage claims. To learn about when you should hire an attorney for assistance, here are four signs you’ll know the time is right.
Insurance Company Refuses to Negotiate
In many situations when a hurricane damage claim is denied, the insurance company will give little or no reason for its decision. Along with this, if you contact them and attempt to find out the reason behind their decision, chances are they will not speak with you, nor will they attempt to listen to any type of negotiating regarding your claim. However, once you hire an attorney to handle your case, the insurance company will often start to change its tune about your claim. Therefore, rather than attempt to handle negotiations on your own, let your attorney do the talking.
Understanding Your Rights
If you are like most people, you have difficulty understanding much of the language contained in insurance policies. Since insurance companies often make their policies confusing on purpose to keep homeowners from fully understanding their rights, it is important to hire an attorney who has years of experience and knowledge handling these cases. Once you have an attorney such as this working for you, the two of you can sit down and discuss your claim, the insurance policy, and the variety of legal rights you have in these situations.
You Receive a Low Offer from the Insurance Company
If your insurance company does actually decide to pay you for hurricane damage, chances are the initial offer will be very low. In many cases, the amount offered by the insurance company will not begin to let you rebuild or repair your home in the manner it was before the storm. As a result, those who accept these offers are still left scrambling to find the money needed to complete their repairs, and often wind up going into debt unnecessarily simply because they have been intimidated by their insurance company. If you are being offered a settlement by your insurance company that you know will not begin to cover your repair or rebuilding expenses, do not simply take the offer and then wonder what to do next. Instead, discuss the offer with your attorney. By doing so, it is usually possible that by letting your lawyer discuss the matter with the insurance company, you will eventually be offered a settlement that is fair and equitable.
The Insurance Company Does Not Believe Your Claim
Strange as it may seem, when a major hurricane hits a state and causes widespread damage to thousands of homes, chances are most of the claims submitted to insurance companies will be denied. As to why, the insurance companies tend to think many people are simply lying about damages to their homes in an attempt to get money. While some people may attempt to do so, the vast majority of claims are submitted by honest people who simply want to repair or rebuild their homes and let their lives get back to normal. Because of this, it is likely that without sufficient evidence and an experienced attorney working for you to protect your rights, you too will find yourself with a denied claim. To keep this from happening, you should not only hire an attorney to guide you through the process, but also gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. To get the best results, have photos and videos of the damage, since a picture is worth at least a thousand words in these situations.