New Jersey Hurricane Damage Insurance Claims

Many of the residents and business owners affected by the destruction of hurricanes held insurance policies meant to protect them in the event of such a disaster, and as the rebuilding process begins, there are countless people who will rely on the swift and effective payments of their insurers to cover their losses. Others will not be so lucky, and find themselves locked in disputes with their insurers over the amount of compensation they are entitled to, the extent of the damage to their property, and the types of damage that are covered by their policies. If you have found yourself in this unfortunate position and want to learn more about what you can do to pursue the financial assistance you believe you are owed under the terms of your insurance policy, contact the attorneys at Williams Hart today by calling (713) 352-0031.

What happens after the storm?

Major storms typically affect an incredible number of people, and insurance companies are immediately swamped with tens of thousands of claims that they must deal with simultaneously. In order to meet this demand, the typical practice is to contract with independent adjusting companies who will take on the duty of inspecting properties and assessing the damage done to them on behalf of the insurance company, creating a third party which must be dealt with. By utilizing these third parties, insurance companies are able to engage in a variety of tactics for reducing the value of claims from pressuring desperate policyholders to accept low-ball offers to denying valid claims outright.

These third party adjusters are often under trained and very commonly underestimate the damages sustained in a hurricane in a manner which clearly favors the insurance companies they work for. By failing to record hidden damage which becomes readily apparent after the fact, rushing through claims to quickly process as many claims as possible, and generally undervaluing the damage done to a property, these adjusters frequently leave property owners with payments that fail to meet their needs by a large margin, and policyholders are forced to make up the sizable difference out of pocket.

There are several steps you should take to protect and enforce your rights.

  1. Your first step should always be to secure the safety of yourself and your family, but immediately after you should begin to protect your interests by taking whatever reasonable actions you can to prevent further damage to your home. During the recovery period, keep a record of all of your temporary expenses involved with protecting the property and temporarily housing your family.
  2. As soon as you are able, report your claim to the insurance company and make a record of the time and date of the report, including the claim number assigned to your case and the name of the representative you spoke with. It is also an excellent idea to obtain a copy of your policy which you can refer to throughout the claims process.
  3. Carefully record every aspect of the claims process that you can. Note the time and date of your conversations with representatives and the names of those you speak to. When working with the adjuster, be sure to note how much time is spent inspecting the property, whether they looked into key areas such as the roof, and jot down the specifics of your conversation and any damage to your personal possessions.
  4. Create an exhaustive inventory of your belongings if you did not do this prior to the storm. Photographs of your belongings and any damage sustained as well as receipts and invoices for purchases and improvements can prove to be invaluable when attempting to recover the full value of your losses.

Is there someone who can help me recover everything I am entitled to?

Insurance companies will always act in their own best interests, and their representatives may act inappropriately, fail to effectively estimate the damage to your property, create unreasonable delays in payment, or even in some cases, deny a valid claim altogether. When such disputes arise, legal action is by far the most effective means of pursuing meaningful compensation. To discuss your situation in greater detail and learn more about the legal options available to you, contact Williams Hart today at [phone-name].

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