An insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance carrier. It is a promise. The carrier essentially says, “Pay us to protect you from the cost of damage to your property. If you have a casualty event like hail or fire damage during the coverage period, then we will pay to have it repaired or replaced.” They take your insurance premiums in exchange for this promise. Then, when a casualty event occurs, all too often, the insurance carrier breaks that promise. They send out a biased or incompetent person to “inspect” your loss, and all too often, they see “no damage” even though your roof is leaking and there is damage visible to the naked eye. Or, they might say that the damage was there to begin with, or is simply wear and tear, or was due to improper installation. Often, they will actually find damage, but it just so happens to be below your deductible. We have heard every excuse in the book for not paying a valid claim. These excuses are really just an attempted cover-up story so the carrier can get away with breaking its promise to you.
Don’t let your insurance carrier get away with broken promises! Know your rights so that you can enforce them.
Once you have submitted a claim on your property, the insurance contract provides that the insurance carrier is in charge of if, when, and for how much they will pay for the damage to your property. Unless you enforce your rights, the insurance carrier will be solely responsible for determining what they owe and whether they will keep its promise to you.
The only way to force an insurance company to keep its promise is to ask a court to compel payment of your claim by filing a lawsuit against them. If a carrier refuses to pay what they owe, and you choose not to file suit, then they win without even trying. They took your premiums in exchange for a promise that was not worth the paper it was written on.
Do not give up. Enforce your rights.
Once an insurance company is put on notice that you have retained counsel and you do not intend on giving in to their unreasonable position, then new eyes from their side start to review the situation. Usually, an outside attorney will review the facts outlined in the notice letter. Also, once your law firm submits a notice of representation, often times the carrier will task a more experienced adjuster to review the facts, and they often realize the initial adjustment was inadequate. Sometimes this alone can resolve the matter.
After our notice of representation is submitted, if the carrier does not make a reasonable settlement offer to you at that time, then we will file suit. They had their chance. Now it is our turn. At that time, we will compel the carrier to give us all of their internal adjuster’s notes, and we will find out what they were doing instead of properly paying your claim. We will have a chance to cross-examine the carrier’s adjuster, under oath. We will also cross examine the carrier’s corporate representative and find out all the reasons they acted as they did on your claim. Often times, when we take under-oath depositions, we find out the carrier acted inappropriately. We then use this information at trial to prove the carrier broke its promises to you.