Property loss Insurance claims
Hiring a Property insurance claim lawyer? We buy insurance for our homes and businesses to protect in case of a loss. Insurance is a peace of mind product to allow us to sleep at night knowing that if the unimaginable happens we have coverage. Water damage claims, fire claims, tornado and theft are some of the most common property loss claims. Most people will not know what is covered under their policy and how much insurance they have until after a loss occurs. Insurance companies are happy to accept your premium payments but when you make a claim they can be difficult to deal with. In some cases they may delay payments, and in others deny the claim.
Insurance companies have to treat their insureds fairly. This means they have to handle claims efficiently and pay claims quickly. They must have valid reasons to deny a claim. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. We see many cases where insurers have wrongly denied a claim or have undervalued a claim. Our experienced insurance lawyers understand insurance policies and the claims process. They will employ the necessary tools to get you compensation. This can include technical experts such as engineers, loss valuators and independent adjusters.
Our lawyers will ensure you get the peace of mind you deserve. Our lawyers have been successful in obtaining awards for punitive damages where insurance companies have wrongly denied an insurance claims. Punitive damage awards are rare and hard to obtain. The lawyers at Singer Katz LLP have obtained 2 such awards for their clients.
Do I have insurance coverage for my property loss?
Many consumers are not aware of what coverages they have until after a loss occurs. Not all insurance covers all types of losses. Generally, insurance will cover most perils that are listed in the policy subject to any exclusions. These terms can be complex and difficult to understand. The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the policyholder and not to the insurer in cases where the coverage is unclear. Each loss and circumstance can be different and a careful review of your policy wording can be required to determine if you have coverage. Our experienced lawyers can assist in this process.
What do I do if I have an insurance property loss?
When you discover you are a victim of a property loss such as a flood or theft, there are several steps that should be taken to best ensure you are covered by your insurer. First, take the necessary emergency steps to limit the loss – this could include turning off the water, calling police or fire or an emergencies contractor. Second, contact your insurance company or insurance broker and report the claim as soon as possible. Insurer will usually send an adjuster or a preferred contractor to the site to assess the damages and perform any emergency restoration. Third, document your claim by taking photographs, sending emails and other methods to support what occurred and what was lost or damaged.
Do I have to accept the insurance company’s assessment or contactors?
You do not have to accept the insurance company’s assessment or valuation of your loss. You may need supporting information or evidence from contractors, or receipts or invoices proving the losses to contest their valuations. In some cases, an insurance company may revise their assessments with more information but where there is a dispute either side is allowed to have the valuation determined at a process called an Appraisal.
An insurer may obtain an estimate for repairs from one of is preferred contractors. If you do not want to use the insured’s contractors there is no requirement to do so. The amount that another contractor is paid by the insurer may be limited to insurer’s scope unless the additional costs are shown to be required. In some situations, using the insurer’s contractors can be beneficial as there are often warranties or assurances in the workmanship which the insurer can help to enforce as well as some priority in completing the work. However, some insurers and their contractors may look to cut corners or undervalue the cost of repair.
When should I hire a lawyer to fight my insurance company?
The vast majority of insurance claims can be handled without a lawyer or litigation. If your insurance company is taking advantage of you or has denied your claim, seeking legal assistance can be of benefit. Not all denials are justified and we fight for our clients to get the coverage they are entitled to. All insurance claims are also subject to a limitation period which means that you need to sue the insurance company within a defined period of time to protect your legal right to payment. Most policies will have a one or two year limitation period. If a claim is not completed within the limitation period an insurer may decide not to honour the claim if litigation has not been started. Speaking to an experienced property insurance claim lawyer can assist in understanding your rights.
Why is my claim not being covered by the insurance company?
There can be many reasons why an insurance company does not cover a claim. Some examples include alleged misrepresentations on the insurance application or a change in the risk during the policy. A claim may be denied because it falls into an exclusion for coverage such as a vacancy, poor workmanship or some forms of water damage. Speaking with an experienced property insurance claim lawyer in understanding insurance coverage, including underwriting and broker’s responsibilities can help in fighting a wrongful insurance denial.
Contacting a Property Loss Insurance Claim Lawyer
If you have questions about your property insurance claim, contact us for your free consultation.