Tallahassee is home to business owners and residents alike who recognize the city as a hub for trade, agriculture, and higher learning. But the city is not without its problems, both man-made and natural. Hurricanes and strong storms sometimes devastate parts of Tallahassee. And like any city, Tallahassee has issues with property crimes like theft and vandalism. If you’re a homeowner or business, you expect your insurance policy to cover these and other incidents of property damage.
However, insurance companies routinely cheat their own policyholders out of the coverage they deserve. That’s where the team at VCM Law Group can help. We work on behalf of Tallahassee policyholders who have had their property damage claims unfairly denied or underpaid.
What To Know About Tallahassee Property Damage Insurance
Standard property insurance policies for homes and businesses cover the damage. These are typically designed to cover losses for structural damage to a home or building and to replace personal property and other items within the home or business. These policies also cover losses related to theft and vandalism.
The specifics of each policy vary from one insurer to the next. But it’s important to be familiar with the terms of your coverage so you can know what to expect when it comes time to claim a loss. Depending on your exact policy, you may have protection from natural and man-made property damage, including the following:
- Water damage (e.g. busted pipes)
- Fallen trees
Some property damage claims are for total loss, while others are for relatively minor payouts. Either way, the property owner rightly expects the insurer to cover what it agreed to in the policy. That means the insurance company is required to handle claims in good faith. Of course, this doesn’t always happen. And no matter how legitimate your property damage claim is, there’s a chance the insurance company will reject it.
Reasons That Tallahassee Insurers Deny Property Damage Claims
It’s important to point out that a claim denial doesn’t necessarily mean the insurance company is doing anything wrong. Plenty of homeowners and businesses file fraudulent, frivolous, and otherwise invalid claims. By the same token, however, insurers are quick to jump on just about any reason to deny a claim if they can get away with it.
Here are a few of the most common reasons insurance companies refuse to pay for property damage. Understanding these reasons is essential to know whether your insurer’s decision was justified:
Failure to pay premiums. This is the easiest reason for the insurance company to say you had a lapse in coverage. A missed premium payment could allow your insurer to deny a claim. Of course, the insurance company could have made a mistake in processing payment and falsely stated your policy lapsed, so make sure you keep a record of your payments.
Policy exclusions. All insurance policies carry lengthy exclusions that homeowners and businesses should know about. Naturally, these are written in such a way as to be confusing to the average policyholder. Your insurer may argue in bad faith that your claim is excluded when it’s not, and point to misleading or ambiguous language in the policy.
Missing a filing deadline. You may have only a certain amount of time to file a claim after the date of loss. There are many valid reasons that policyholders delay filing claims, such as being displaced from their homes after a natural disaster. But the insurance company may use this against you, so do what you can to file your claim as soon as possible.
Not proving the loss. Policyholders are generally required to prove they had a valid loss. However, many cannot document it. Part of this stems from the failure to take an inventory of the property before it was destroyed. Failure to prove a loss could result in either a denied claim or a much lower payout than you should have received.
How To Increase Your Chances Of Being Covered
Before you even have a property damage claim, it’s important to read and understand your insurance policy. Few homeowners and businesses do this, and they pay a price later when their claims are denied. Take the time to know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t.
Next, make a comprehensive inventory of your property. This is something else that should be done before a storm or other disaster hits. Take pictures, keep lists, store your receipts, and regularly update your inventory. Document everything inside and outside the property, including personal items and equipment.
After a loss, provide written notice right away to your insurer. As mentioned above, filing delays are one of the most common reasons insurers deny property damage claims. Understand how and when to file the notice and make sure it’s completed. Keep a record of it as well.
Finally, you should take reasonable steps to minimize additional damage to the property. Insurance policies typically require this, and failure to mitigate the damage could reduce your payout
Contact Our Tallahassee Property Damage Attorney
VCM Law Group can help you review and understand your policy, work with your insurer on a claim dispute, and take legal action in the event your insurer won’t satisfactorily pay for your losses. If your property damage claim was denied in bad faith, reach out to us today to learn more about your legal rights.