Rhode Island Hurricane Damage Insurance Claims

A hurricane can bring with it incredible winds which reach up to 90 mph, and tropical storm force winds reaching out as far as 520 miles from the center of the storm. In total, these winds cover a massive area within the 1,000+ mile diameter of the storm, affecting property owners from Maine to Virginia. In 13 different states, home and business owners experience serious devastation from flood-waters, debris, and most of all, wind. In all, hurricanes may be one of the most severe storms to affect the Northeastern United States.

When you are faced with severe property damage after a catastrophe, your insurance company should be there to help you pick up the pieces, offering payment according to the terms of your insurance agreement. Sadly, many insurance companies will attempt to deny or underpay insurance claims, leaving insurance holders without the necessary resources to recover from a disaster. If your property or possessions were damaged during a hurricane, you may need the help of an experienced attorney in order to obtain a fair deal from your insurance company. To speak with a skilled lawyer from Williams Hart about your claim, contact us today at (713) 352-0031.

After the Storm

After large-scale catastrophes like hurricanes, insurance companies will typically receive thousands of insurance claims within a few short days. In most cases, these insurance companies will hire a large number of independent adjusting companies to evaluate the damage to property and make an estimate of the value of each individual claim. Although this may sound pretty straightforward, unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for using delays, low estimates, unfair denials, and misinformation in order to get policyholders to accept payments that are below fair value. By doing this, insurance companies save themselves millions of dollars while customers are left to pay for thousands of dollars of damage by themselves.

When adjusters evaluate the damage to a person’s property, they may ignore huge amounts of hidden damage. In other cases, the extent of the damage does not become clear until much later when it is too late and the claim has already been settled. In their rush to go through each claim as fast as possible, insurance companies may obtain the services of hundreds of adjusters, many of whom do not have the needed experience and knowledge to make fair insurance claim evaluations. This usually makes a huge difference in the estimated value of claims, one which often ends up benefiting the insurance company more than the customer. As a result, property owners are often forced to make up the difference on their own.

Protecting and Enforcing Your Rights

After a disaster like a hurricane, there are several steps that can help you protect and enforce your rights, including:

  1. At the first safe opportunity, do whatever you can to prevent additional property damage. If you have to do any emergency repairs, make sure to keep receipts for all expenses. If you have to pay any temporary living expenses, such as lodging and food, keep receipts for those things as well.
  2. As quickly as possible, send your claim to your insurance company. Have a copy of your policy stored in a safe place. If you don’t have your policy, make a request for a replacement copy. After reporting your claim, write down what time and what day you made the claim, what claim number you received, and who you spoke to about the claim.
  3. Take notes of important information pertaining to your claim. Some of the details you should record include the names, employers, and numbers of any adjusters you speak to, the names of any insurance agents you speak to and their incoming phone numbers, details of your conversations with these individuals, any e-mails or letters you receive regarding your claim, and the amount of time adjusters spend inspecting your property. When it comes to adjusters visiting your property, make note of their actions, such as when they visited, how long they were there, the things they told you, whether or not they got on the roof or went in the attic, and questions they asked you regarding the damage. If they failed to ask you about certain information, such as personal possession damage and food loss, make a note of that as well.
  4. If you didn’t make an inventory of your possessions before the storm, make one as soon as possible. Photograph the damage to these possessions as well as the damage to your property at large. If you had any repairs, upgrades, or renovations to your home prior to the storm, attempt to find receipts or invoices for this work.

How Do I Recover What I am Entitled To?

Insurance policies can be complicated, and some insurance companies may use this to attempt to deny you the payment you deserve under the terms of your policy. The best way to ensure you are given proper, fair payment for your claim is to consult with an attorney who understands insurance claims disputes and the laws surrounding insurance claims. If your property was damaged in a hurricane, contact Williams Hart at (713) 352-0031 today to learn more about your rights and options.

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