Massachusetts Hurricane Damage Insurance Claims

Tropical storm level winds can blow throughout an area as far as 520 miles from the storm’s center, causing the effects of the storm to be felt across a 1,040 mile diameter. In 13 different states, residents have weathered catastrophic flooding and wind damage, as heavy, hurricane-force winds reached all the way from Maine down to Virginia. Hurricanes, with their heavy winds, massive rainfall, and enormous storm surges are perhaps one of the largest and strongest storms ever recorded to hit the Northeastern United States.

Anytime your home or property is damaged by a catastrophic event, it is up to your insurance company to fulfill their end of your policy agreement, providing you with the payment promised to you in your policy so that you can get back on your feet. Unfortunately, insurance companies are also notorious for unfairly denying and underpaying legitimate claims. If your property was damaged by a hurricane and your insurance company has failed to offer appropriate payment, you may need to take legal action. Contact Williams Hart today at (713) 352-0031 to speak with an attorney about your case.

What Happens in the Aftermath of a Hurricane?

In the aftermath of disasters like hurricanes, insurance companies are met with overwhelming numbers of claims, usually within just one week after the storm passes. Under these circumstances, insurance companies usually will have separate insurance adjusting companies take a look at the damage and put together an estimate of how much repairs or replacements will cost. Though this may seem simple enough, it can actually be one of a number of unfair tactics used by insurance companies to avoid paying the appropriate amount on claims. Insurance companies may use multiple adjusters, delay making payments, deny claims unfairly, misrepresent the value of property, and make low level offers to insurance holders, all in an effort to save money by not giving their customers their rightful payment.

The job of an insurance adjuster is to inspect damage and assign a reasonable estimate of how much repairs will cost. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters often purposefully ignore hidden damage, or fail to anticipate additional damage which is only later discovered after a claim is settled. Anytime a large disaster happens, the rush to send adjusters out to inspect damage often results in hurried inspections conducted by inexperienced employees. This can have a significant impact on the insurance company’s estimate of the value of a claim, usually to the detriment of the insurance holder. When all is said and done, policyholders are often forced to pay the difference on the cost of repairs, which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Taking Steps to Protect Your Rights

  1. When you are able to do so safely, you should begin taking any steps that you can in order to prevent additional damage to your home or other property. Keep receipts for any emergency repairs or protective measures you take. You should also keep receipts for any temporary living expenses.
  2. Make a report of any damages and losses you have suffered to your insurance company as soon as you are able. Make sure to have a copy of your insurance policy stored in a safe place. Should you misplace your copy, request one from your insurance company. As soon as you make your claim, write down the time and date of the claim, the name of the person you spoke to, as well as the claim number you are given by the insurance company.
  3. Take as many notes as you can on your interactions with the insurance company. This can include writing down the times and dates of your conversations with adjusters and agents. Make certain to include their names, as well as whom they are working for (if they are adjusters). You should also record the number, if you have a caller I.D., of any incoming calls from your adjuster or insurance agents. Do not delete any e-mails from your insurance company and save any letters sent to you. When it comes to insurance adjusters, make sure you take notes on their visits to your property. Include how much time they were there, any details about what they say, what parts of the property they inspect, and more. Did they go up to the roof or look at your attic? Was there any mention of food losses or personal possession damage?
  4. If you didn’t do it prior to the storm, create an inventory of your personal property and possessions. Take photos of the damage done to this inventory, as well as the damage done to the premises. If you can, locate invoices and receipts for upgrades, improvements, and renovations of your property prior to the storm.

Who Can Help You Receive What You are Entitled To Under Your Policy?

Insurance policies are complicated and difficult for most to fully understand, and insurance companies cannot always be trusted to act in your best interests and provide the full amount of payment you are entitled to. One of the best ways to make sure you are provided with what you are entitled to is to obtain the services of a law firm who has in-depth knowledge and understanding of insurance claims and the laws regarding these claims. To learn more, contact the lawyers of Williams Hart at (713) 352-0031 today.

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