HOMEOWNER INSURANCE DISPUTES
Damage to your home and personal property can be caused by many things: fire, theft, hurricane, tornado, or flood. Dealing with the aftermath can be expensive, disruptive, and time-consuming. If at any time you do not believe your insurance company is treating you fairly, consider getting help.
What to do after a loss
As soon as possible you should notify your insurance company. While you can contact your insurance company by phone, most insurers require a written notification as well.
Immediately take steps to prevent any further damage and to secure your property to the extent possible. You have a duty under your insurance policy to take reasonable steps to minimize additional damage and loss. The failure to do this may prevent your insurance company from paying parts of your claim.
Read Your Policy
Read your policy and make sure you understand the different types of coverage it provides. It is important to figure out as quickly as possible what your policy covers.
Replacement cost coverage pays you what it will take to actually rebuild, repair or replace your damaged property. Actual cash value coverage pays you only the depreciated value of the property.
Even if you have replacement cost coverage, most insurance companies will initially only pay you the actual cash value. The insurance company will later pay any additional costs after the property is actually repaired or replaced.
Restoring Your Home and Property
Your home is your most important investment. Being able to “restore” your home to its original condition is why you have insurance. However, the way policies are written it can be difficult to understand exactly how it is supposed to work. Most homeowners also are not familiar with current construction methods and costs. For these reasons it can be a mistake to simply rely on their insurance company to tell you what they owe.
Resolving Your Insurance Claim
When it comes to settling any part of your insurance claim, be wary of “cash out” settlement offers. A “cash out” settlement should not be accepted unless you are absolutely sure that you can get the necessary repairs done for that amount.
Unless you are qualified to evaluate the insurance company’s offer, you should rely on estimates from independent professionals who are acting in your interest as opposed to the interest of the insurance company. The biggest mistake many people make after a significant loss is to accept payment of an amount that is insufficient to properly restore your home and property.
Do I need a lawyer?
It is not unusual to have disagreements with your insurance company. If your insurance company will not work with you and pay the right amount, or if your insurance company is not being fair, you should get legal help.
At Danks, Miller & Cory, we have the expertise to help you properly document and present your claim. We will negotiate to make sure that your insurance company pays the full amount owed. In those situations where the insurance company refuses to pay what is owed, we will pursue your insurance claim in court.
Call us at 601-957-3101 or contact us online to set up a meeting with one of our experienced Mississippi insurance attorneys.