Anyone who owns a home or business damaged in a major hurricane is bound to face some challenges after the storm has passed and the insurance claims process begins. For many people, it may be the first time they’ve submitted a major insurance claim, and they are often unprepared for some of problems that crop up.
One of the primary issues that we see has to do with settlement offers that are inadequate and don’t cover the true cost of the damages to a property. Receiving these kinds of “lowball” offers can be especially frustrating when someone has waited weeks or months for payment after a disaster, and some policyholders are tempted to take it and just move on. However, you should know that you may be able to negotiate with the insurance company for the full worth of your claim.
What to Do If You’ve Received a “Lowball” Offer for a Hurricane Insurance Claim
If you have received a laughably low offer for your hurricane damages, you already know it’s no laughing matter. The difference between a “lowball” offer and the true worth of your claim can be significant. Here are some things you can do to fight an unfair settlement offer and work toward a better resolution:
- Understand what your claim is actually worth. If you don’t know how much your insurance coverage should cover, or if you haven’t included everything that the policy will cover, then you don’t know if what the insurance company offers you is off base. Make sure that you have gotten thorough assessments of all your hurricane damage, including potentially “hidden” damages that can cause problems later on. Remember, too, that your coverage may not be limited to just the costs of structural damage. You also may be able to seek reimbursement of some of the costs of relocation, temporary repairs, business interruption, and more.
- Don’t accept the first offer. You don’t have to accept the first settlement offer you receive from the insurance company. You should know that the first settlement from the insurance company is often lower than it should be. Sometimes, the offer is too low because there has been error or something was overlooked. However, some insurance companies also routinely offer less with the initial settlement in hopes of saving their own bottom lines. Before jumping to accept the first offer from the insurance company, you should carefully review the offer with an attorney.
- Don’t accept an offer you don’t agree with. If you receive any kind of settlement offer or check from the insurance company that you don’t agree with, don’t accept it. As in the above situation, you should instead carefully review the offer with an attorney and try to nail down why the amount is less than you expected.
- Talk to an experienced attorney. It may still be possible to recover what you need from the insurance claims process, but a it takes a great deal of knowledge, preparation, and organization to work toward a more favorable outcome. Because of this, it’s important to not only find an attorney to help you, but to find an attorney who has a long history of resolving hurricane insurance claims and disputes. Someone who has experience negotiating hurricane insurance claims can better help you gather the necessary evidence, meet time limits, and protect yourself and your property. If you are currently searching for an attorney, find out why Bill Voss might be the right attorney for you.
Insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith and handle claims fairly, and they shouldn’t get away with denying or underpaying legitimate claims for hurricane damage. If you believe that the settlement you’ve been offered isn’t inadequate or doesn’t appropriately cover your losses, reach out to the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730 for more information about fighting “lowball” insurance settlements, your rights, and how to get help.