What to Do After Your Home is Damaged by a Hurricane
By The Perazzo Law Firm
Losing a home can be devastating to any family. During this hyperactive hurricane season, knowing your rights is very important. However, suffering any damage to ones home can be difficult when your insurance claim is denied even though it should otherwise be a covered loss. The best solution is always preparation. In anticipation of any damage to your home, we recommend planning ahead by setting aside your policy, contact information for your insurance company and adjuster, a qualified repair specialist for any type of damage that may occur (i.e. plumber, roofer).
In order to insure your claim is processed timely and properly, the insured has to comply with a number of post loss obligations. Primarily those include prompt notice to the insurer, mitigating your damages, submitting to a recorded statement and examination under oath, submitting a sworn proof of loss, retaining any damaged part even if it has been replaced, saving any and all proof of expenses associated with the loss, etc. As you can imagine it is a long and exhaustive list, however any non-compliance with the list of required post loss duties can be used to deny your claim which, otherwise, may be covered by the policy. Knowing what your duties are is vital to ensuring your claim is not denied on a technicality.
An insurance policy is written by the insurance company and, as such, can be considered a contract of adhesion. That is, a contract where one party has a negotiating advantage over the other party. Essentially, what that means is when you were not the party drafting the contract then the terms of the agreement are likely to disfavor you. In reality, most contracts we agree to have been drafted by the corporations providing services, whether it is your mobile service provided, car/property/health insurance, cable television, etc. Unfortunately, almost always we do not have any choice, it is unheard of for anyone to write their own contract terms and offer it to the corporation. Essentially we are all victims to the terms of the contract written by the corporations. In these circumstances our only recourse is to know the terms of the contract inside and out.
When it comes to making a property loss claim is not as simply as placing a phone call. The insurance company is not your friend waiting to come to your rescue whenever you need help. Corporations are profit driven entities when benefit from customers not reporting damages or from denying claims. Insurance companies can deny your claim for any reason, even reporting your claim a day late. Moreover, your claim can be denied if you failed to disclose a bankruptcy or an arrest on your application. In reality, an arrest (even without a conviction) or financial difficulties within the last decade should not have any significant bearing on your ability to obtain insurance coverage for your home. However, failing to disclose a material fact may be enough to not just deny your claim but to cancel the entire policy and leave the homeowner with very few legal options.
At the Perazzo Law Firm, we know all of the tricks the insurance companies use to deny your claim. Our advice is always to be prepared for any eventuality. Unfortunately, knowing all of the terms of an insurance policy that is close to one hundred pages is a difficult task and that is what the insurance industry is counting on. When the unfortunate happens to your home, knowing your rights is very important. But if you feel your claim has been unjustly denied despite your full compliance with all of the obligations placed upon you by the contract, then do not hesitate in contacting a qualified attorney as soon as you can to preserve your rights.
If you seek further information on how to prepare for, or what to do after your home has been damaged please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at The Perazzo Law Firm.
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Free Consultation, Jonathan Perazzo, Esq.