Property Loss & Damage Claims
- What is Property Insurance?
- What Do Standard Insurance Policies Cover?
- What Other Types of Policies are Available?
- When Should You Seek Legal Advice?
- Get Help From Attorneys You Can Trust
Property owners who suffer damage or loss face financial hardship and increased stress. They buy property insurance to protect their finances; however, sometimes, insurance companies act in bad faith to protect their profits rather than their clients. If this happens, you can hire an attorney to file a claim against the company to receive a settlement.
The property loss attorneys with Nessler & Associates have considerable experience with insurance company tactics. We can advocate for a fair settlement from your insurer. We can help you understand property insurance, what it covers, and how to ensure you have adequate protection. We can also help you decide when to hire an attorney.
What is Property Insurance?
Property insurance protects you from severe financial hardship due to property damage. It covers structures like your home or business and your personal property. States do not require property insurance, but mortgage lenders do.
The insurer earns income by investing the monthly premiums it collects. When you file a claim for property damage or loss, the company is supposed to pay your claim. Sometimes, the insurer finds excuses to deny your claim or offer you less money than the claim is worth.
Homeowner’s insurance policies cover damage to your home up to the policy limit. You can purchase insurance that will provide the actual value or replacement value. An actual value policy reimburses you for what the damaged property is worth, while replacement value gives you enough to rebuild or replace the structure.
Homeowner’s insurance also covers the loss of your personal items. To get reimbursed for these items, you must provide documentation of the affected property and what each item is worth. Personal property includes furniture, art, jewelry, electronics, and collectibles.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance policies cover damage to your business. This coverage includes the building, inventory, equipment, supplies, and exterior features such as signs. It also protects the business owner against theft.
Homeowner’s and commercial property insurance also provide liability protection. For example, if someone sustains a personal injury on your property, this policy covers their damages.
If you own a swimming pool or other attractive nuisance, you must take all reasonable measures to prevent children from getting injured or killed, regardless of whether they are invited. This part of the policy also covers your legal defense.
The property damage lawyers with Nessler & Associates can help you get the compensation you deserve from your insurance carrier. Insurance adjusters decide how much the company should pay for your claim. Some adjusters act in bad faith to save their employer money.
With our decades of experience, you can rest assured that our property damage attorneys won’t back down from pushback from an insurance company and will fight to get you a fair settlement.
What Do Standard Insurance Policies Cover?
Insurance companies offer protection against similar hazards. You can buy additional coverage if you need protection against risks that the standard policy does not cover.
Most Insurance Policies Cover These Hazards
Crime and the weather present the most common hazards to property owners. Most homeowner’s and commercial policies cover similar types of damage, including:
- Theft of personal property, business property, or inventory
- Damage caused during a burglary
- Vandalism such as broken windows and spray-painted walls
- Wind damage to the roof, walls, and windows
- Hail damage to the roof, siding, and windows
- Damage from falling trees
- Damage from lightning strikes
- Fire damage from wildfires, lightning strikes, and accidental causes
- Damaged inventory for your business
- Water damage from rain
- Damage to roofs caused by snow and ice
- Tornado damage
Most Policies Do Not Cover These Issues
Insurance companies typically exclude some kinds of damages from their policies. These threats include:
- Arson or fires set on purpose
- Flash floods
- Widespread flooding
- Water damage from hurricane storm surge and flooding
- Companies vary on what they cover for wind damage from tropical storms and hurricanes
- Unattached structures such as sheds, garages, and barns
Understanding what standard policies cover and exclude allows you to protect your finances by purchasing the types of insurance you need. The damage claims attorneys with Nessler & Associates can help you get the maximum compensation for your covered damages.
What Other Types of Policies are Available?
People who live in a natural disaster-prone area should consider adding an appropriate policy rider. For example, those living near a river should consider flood insurance, while those in Florida should consider a hurricane policy. You can usually get these policies from your insurance carrier.
- Flood policies cover damage from flash floods or widespread flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency manages the National Flood Insurance Program. You can assess the flooding risk to your property by examining a flood map.
- Because hurricane insurance does not exist, you might need flood insurance and a windstorm policy. Insurers in most hurricane-prone states do not cover tropical storms and hurricane winds. Check with your company to be sure.
- Earthquake coverage pays for earthquake and landslide damage. Typical policies do not cover damage caused by land movement. California, Washington, and Missouri are the top three markets for earthquake insurance in the U.S. Landslides can affect anyone living or working in the mountains.
- You can add other structure coverage to your policy if it does not cover them. This protection usually provides the replacement cost of damages. If your outbuildings include expensive features, you should explore this type of insurance.
- Sewer backup insurance covers damage to your sewer line from your house to where it connects with the sewer system. It also covers the damages if the sewer backs up into your home. This damage might include replacing the carpet.
- Sometimes, personal injury claims exceed what your property insurance liability covers. Umbrella policies cover personal injury and provide additional liability coverage to your property and auto policies.
- Personal property endorsements cover expensive items that exceed the value of your homeowner’s or commercial policy. Most property insurance policies cover personal items up to a certain percentage of the building’s worth. You might consider getting additional protection if you own valuable artwork, collections, antiques, or jewelry.
The insurers that offer these additional policies can also wrongfully deny claims or try to pay less than they owe. A skilled lawyer with Nessler & Associates will fight aggressively to get you fair compensation.
When Should You Seek Legal Advice?
Insurance companies often have many excuses for denying your claim. The insurance adjuster’s job is to deny payment or reduce the claim’s value. You need legal advice if the adjuster acted in bad faith by wrongfully denying your claim.
Claim You Did Not File on Time
Every property insurance policy has limits on the time that can go by between sustaining damage and notifying the company. You must know these limits and notify them promptly. Providing written notification gives you a paper trail to establish the timing of the claim.
If you did notify the company within the time limits, but the company denies this, consult an attorney.
Claim You Do Not Have Enough Documentation
Insurers require documentation to reimburse you for personal property. These can include pictures and videos of your items, including serial numbers when they are present. Receipts will show what you paid. Appraisals of specific items will show what they are worth. Keep these records in a safe location, such as a safe deposit box or a secure online storage platform.
An experienced attorney can help you gather the documents you need to contest this argument. They can also negotiate with the insurance carrier using this evidence.
Claim That You Lied or That Your Claim Seems Dubious
The insurance adjuster might genuinely doubt your story, or they might just be trying to scare you into accepting a smaller payout. If the adjuster disagrees with you, contact a lawyer immediately. You need someone who can investigate the claim and advocate for you.
Claim That Your Damage Falls Under an Exclusion
The adjuster might claim that flooding caused your damage when you know it was rainwater coming through the roof. They might claim that fire damage was caused by arson without proof. A lawyer can challenge these claims by hiring expert witnesses to support your insurance claim.
Claim That You Did Not Protect Your Property After the Initial Damage
According to insurance policies, you must protect your property from further damage. The company might claim that you failed to do so to deny your claim or reduce your payment.
For instance, if a wind storm damages your roof, you must cover the damaged area with a tarp. You might notice water leaking during the same storm. The insurance company might claim that the water damage occurred in a later storm because you failed to cover the roof.
Unnecessarily Delay Your Payment
Insurance companies make money on the interest they earn on your premiums. The longer they delay payment, the more money they make. They also use delays to get you to accept a smaller settlement than you deserve. Both reasons for delaying your payment hurt your financial position and affect your ability to recover.
The law firm of Nessler & Associates can ensure the company does not get away with bad faith denials or unfair tactics. We can challenge their claims and protect your rights.
Get Help From Attorneys You Can Trust
The property damage attorneys with Nessler & Associates understand the frustration in the aftermath of property damage and if your insurance company refuses to help. Since 1977, Nessler & Associates has helped policyholders obtain justice while navigating their property insurance claims.
For almost five decades, our law firm has successfully litigated and recovered damages for policyholders. We have the resources and a dedicated trial team to fight insurance company delay tactics and get you the settlement you need to fully restore your property.
Contact us online or at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case and tell you what to expect during the claims process.
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