North Carolina Hurricane Damage Insurance Claims

With 90 mph tropical winds that extended over 1,000 miles, hurricanes have wreaked havoc upon millions of Americans homes, businesses, vehicles, and personal property. Due to the flooding, flying debris, and high force winds that these storm brought, Americans across the Northeastern U.S. are now facing millions of dollars in damage and losses.

Facing such serious property damage can be worrisome and frustrating, especially when you feel you are not being treated fairly by the insurance company you turn to for assistance. Sadly, many insurance companies fail to uphold their customers’ policies in the way they should, causing those already victimized by a storm like hurricane to suffer further financial loss and harm.

What Happens When the Storm is Over?

Tropical storms like hurricanes often cause millions of people to suffer substantial loss and damage to their property, prompting them to file claims with their insurance companies. As a result, insurance companies often find themselves facing a large influx of claims at the same time. In an effort to rush through handling these claims, many insurance companies seek the help of independent adjusters to assess the damage and evaluate these claims. Sadly, in addition to unfair insurance company tactics, such as unfairly denying claims, misrepresentations, delaying processing of claims, or offering settlements that are too low, using independent adjusters can allow insurance companies to mistreat their customers and save themselves millions of dollars.

While independent adjusters should be helpful in evaluating claims, they all-too-often fail to accurately assess the damage, missing hidden damages or underestimating the full amount of damage suffered. Additionally, in an effort to handle claims as fast as possible, insurance companies often end up hiring untrained and inexperienced adjusters, resulting in further financial losses for claimants due to claim evaluations that greatly favor insurance companies. As a result of these unfair settlements, property owners are often left to make up the difference between money paid to them by their insurance company and the actual damage they experienced, which can amount to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

Steps You Can Take

Fortunately, there are some things that claimants can do in order to help protect and enforce their rights:

  1. Ensure the safety of your remaining property by taking steps to prevent further damage as soon as you safely can. Additionally, make sure to have a record of any expenses you incur related to temporary living costs or emergency repairs. Finally, do not throw out any damaged property unless you are told to do so. Before disposing of this property, make sure to document it and take pictures.
  2. Obtain a copy of your insurance policy and file a claim for damaged and lost property as soon as possible. When you file your claim, make sure to note who the claim was filed with, when it was filed, and the number assigned to your claim.
  3. Be detailed in recording any correspondence or interactions related to your claim. This includes noting who you speak with, their contact information, how the interaction took place (in person, over the phone, etc.), what was discussed, any actions taken by the adjuster or insurance company representative, when the interaction took place, and any comments made related to the damage. Don’t forget to keep copies of emails and written letters regarding your claim as well.
  4. Compile an inventory of all your property, including pictures of damaged property, as many receipts as possible for purchases and updates/renovations to property, and notes of lost property.

Understand Your Rights

Often, insurance policies are complicated, making them difficult to understand and creating hardships when it comes to filing a claim. Additionally, insurance companies add further complication and frustration to this process by engaging in bad faith practices, such as acting unprofessionally, denying legitimate claims, or delaying the processing of a claim.

If you suffered property damage or loss in a hurricane and want to know what you can do to see that you receive all that you are entitled to under your insurance policy and the law, contacting an experienced legal professional can be invaluable. To learn more, or to discuss the specifics of your situation, contact the attorneys of Williams Hart at (713) 352-0031 today.


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