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The Law Office of James C. Spitz
Florida Legal Counsel With Decades Of Insurance Law Experience

Guidance toward filing bad faith insurance claims

Natural disasters, like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes, are harrowing and traumatic events that wreak havoc on cities and citizens across the country. Whether your home or property experienced a fire, water, hurricane, wind, or general property damage, you should be able to carry the peace of mind that your insurance company will cover all or most of the costs. Especially if you have paid your premium.

Well, that isn't always the case. Bad faith, or wrongfully denied insurance claims do happen and can significantly hinder or even eliminate the possibility of recovering your home or property successfully.

A wrongfully denied claim occurs when an insurance company acts in the following manner:

  • Coverage is wholly or partially rejected for the full extent of the damages
  • If claim payments are unreasonably slow or are only partially paid
  • If the insurance company claims fraud or misrepresentation against the client due to information gathered from the client's application or during the claims process

Therefore, it's so essential to keep extensive records from the moment you interact with the insurance company and especially once you file a claim. Keep detailed records for each interaction, including the time, date, and description. If your adjuster doesn't show up, is unprofessional, or seems like they are misrepresenting themselves, write it down. Document positive and negative interactions.

Other tips when filing a claim

As you submit, and throughout the life of your claim, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. You deserve and should expect coverage, especially if you have paid your premium. After a storm or other disastrous event, insurance companies will be busy. Get your claim in as soon as possible, so it gets efficiently addressed. And note your claim number in multiple locations, so it's easily accessible.
  2. Keep all expense receipts related to repairs and living expenses (if your home is inhabitable.) Some claims don't cover living expenses, so be sure to check your claim.
  3. Scammers come out in full force after natural disasters. It's prime real estate to cash in on the desperate and needy. When your insurance adjuster arrives, ask them if they work for the insurance company or are an independent adjuster (I.A.) hired by the insurance company. Also, ask for their work credentials. If they are an independent adjuster, you'll want to ensure they are working for the insurance company. To increase your peace of mind, ask the I.A. if they were authorized to make decisions and payments based on your claim and ask for your insurance company's actual adjuster to confirm the I.A. is there on the insurance company's behalf.
  4. Your insurance company will try to convince you to use their approved contractor to repair your damages. These contractors use unit repair costs to assess the damages. The unit repair costs are an average of the damages in the region. If your losses are above the average, you'll likely receive less compensation than required.
  5. Another scammer is the midnight contractor. These contractors often have shoddy credentials and make their money following the storms.

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