If a disaster has damaged or destroyed your property, you rightly expect insurance to cover your loss. For far too many property owners in Rhode Island, however, this doesn’t happen. Either their insurance company refuses to compensate them or will not provide a fair amount of compensation. In still other cases, insurers deliberately drag their feet and stonewall their policyholders, hoping they will eventually give up in frustration. When insurance companies don’t live up to their promises to the insured, legal action becomes necessary. The property loss litigation attorneys of Palumbo Law are ready to work on your case to win the compensation you deserve.
Property Loss And Your Insurance Company in Rhode Island
Whether you own a business, a home, or some other piece of property, it’s susceptible to a number of serious forms of damage. These losses can be caused by everything from fires, storms, and high winds to unseen water leaks, mold, smoke, and much more. Not all damage is caused by nature, however. Property insurance can also cover man-made losses like theft and vandalism.
Simple property losses that are clearly covered in insurance policies rarely lead to payout problems. The same is not true when the cause of the damage is more complicated. An example is a fire that is extinguished by the fire department but which leaves behind water that causes mold damage. The insurer may falsely claim that the mold was pre-existing and blame the policyholder for it. If there’s anything that gives the insurer an opportunity to deny a claim, then there’s a good chance it will.
Insurance companies are required to act in good faith, which essentially means not engaging in unfair or fraudulent business practices. Although insurance policies are lengthy and complicated, the law obligates insurers to abide by them. Failure to do so could be bad faith.
When Insurers Act In Bad Faith
Insurance companies are businesses. The more claims they deny, and the less money they pay in claims, the higher their profits. This leads many insurers to act in bad faith with respect to property loss and damage.
Bad faith insurance practices are not easily remedied, but litigation is one way to put a stop to it and help you receive a fair payout on your loss. Some examples of bad faith are:
- Denying the claim. As mentioned above, the insurer will look for any excuse it can find to not pay for the property loss. Insurance companies often deny perfectly valid claims and hope the policyholder will simply give up.
- Unreasonable delays. Another tactic insurers commonly use is delay. Delay processing your claim, delay investigating it, delay returning your phone calls. Again, the goal is to frustrate the policyholder into either giving up or paying for the loss him- or herself.
- Underpaying the claim. If the insurance company can’t get by with denying or delaying your claim, it will likely pay much less than it’s worth. Some policyholders are relieved to get anything at all but walk away with much less than they deserve.
- Misrepresenting the terms of the policy. Let’s be honest: most of us haven’t read the dozens of pages that make up insurance policies, so we might not know what all is covered or excluded. Insurance companies take advantage of this by lying about the policies or what the terms mean.
- Unfair treatment of policyholders. This ranges from harassing policyholders to demanding they provide burdensome or unnecessary documentation related to the loss. Insurance companies frequently disrespect their policyholders rather than treat them like customers.
- Blaming the policyholders. One common way insurers disrespect their customers is to make baseless claims that amount to blaming the policyholder. After a fire, for instance, the insurer may accuse the policyholder of the criminal act of arson.
How Can Property Loss Litigation Resolve My Claim in Rhode Island?
If you own business property, bad faith tactics may rob you of the ability to conduct your operations and earn a living. If your residential property was destroyed or damaged, you may be forced to live in hotels or with relatives for weeks or months. The fact is, time is not on your side – and the insurer is well aware of this.
This is where litigation comes in. A dedicated property loss attorney will independently investigate the loss and compare it to the insurance company’s report and estimate. We will also examine your policy and advise you as to what is covered and what may be excluded. Once we determine what a fair and reasonable claim payout should be, we will dispute the insurer’s decision and demand what should be paid under your policy.
Many bad faith tactics can be resolved with persistent and tenacious negotiation, which is exactly what you can expect from our firm. However, if the insurer refuses to play by the rules and pay what it should, we can take your claim to court.
Contact Our Rhode Island Property Loss Litigation Attorney
Dealing with insurance companies can be a headache. The last thing you need after suffering property loss or damage is a hassle from your insurer. Palumbo Law is here to assist you. Contact our property loss litigation attorney today to find out how insurance litigation can help with your claim.