Storms can strike without warning, bringing damaging wind, rain, hail, and much more. If your home or business is caught in the storm’s path, you can count on serious or possibly total destruction. You should also be able to count on your property insurance policy to pay for the cleanup so you can move on. Unfortunately, far too many policyholders have their storm damage claims denied in bad faith, paid out for far less than they’re worth, and delayed for an unacceptable amount of time.
If one of these scenarios applies to your Rhode Island storm damage claim, you may have legal options. Talk to the dedicated attorneys of PALUMBO LAW. We can review your policy and fight back against your insurer’s bad faith tactics.
Different Types Of Storm Damage In Rhode Island
Rhode Island storms are notorious for the extensive damage they can inflict. Whether you own a home, a business, or some other property, you need to know what to expect.
Wind that exceeds 50 to 60 miles per hour is generally considered to be damaging. It can tear off roofing materials such as shingles, and blow away protective siding from your home or business. It can also cause trees to fall onto your property or propel items through windows. Smaller pieces of personal property such as lawnmowers, lawn equipment, and fencing can also be damaged or destroyed.
Rain may bring temporary flooding to your property, or it can cause a secondary form of damage. For instance, wind may damage your home first by tearing off shingles. Rain can then seep into the structure of your house and lead to other problems. Or, the roof of your business can be damaged first by wind, allowing rainwater to leak inside.
Not everyone appreciates how serious mold damage can be. Mold likes to grow in dark, damp places that aren’t readily seen, and it can do so quickly. But if it’s not taken care of, it may lead to allergy-like symptoms that can be serious for people with asthma or compromised immune systems. Regardless, it’s not a problem you want to leave untreated.
A hail storm can start up suddenly, and is sometimes not included in storm forecasts. Large hail can do serious damage to your roof and siding. And if it’s large enough, that will cause roofs to leak and moisture to seep into your home or business. Much of the damage from hail also comes from what it can do to vehicles and other personal property.
Lightning strikes can spell devastation for a home or business by causing fire and smoke damage. It can also do harm to the exterior of physical structures. For some property owners, the major headache caused by lightning strikes is a loss of electrical power, which can lead to further issues.
The Role Of Insurance
Every property insurance policy is different, so understanding what your policy does and does not cover is essential to ensuring you are being treated fairly. Ideally, you will have closely read your policy and understood its terms long before needing to use it. Either way, don’t count on the insurance company to necessarily be forthright about your policy.
Some types of storm damage are routinely excluded from property damage policies. For example, almost all policies exclude damage from floods. There’s nothing wrong with legitimate policy exclusions, and every policy has them. The problem arises when the insurance company lies about the exclusion or attempts to apply it in bad faith to deny a claim.
How Your Insurance Company May Act In Bad Faith
Generally, there are three main ways that property damage insurers act in bad faith:
Delay. Simply put, your insurance company should act promptly in reviewing your claim and making a decision. Not only is it professional and courteous to do so, but a quick decision could prevent further losses to your property and further inconvenience. Letting you know sooner rather than later that the insurer does not intend to cover the loss will also help you make a decision about what to do next.
Deny. An insurance company has to have a good reason to deny a claim. Falsely stating that it’s subject to exclusion, or that you made a mistake like failure to pay your premium (thereby allowing the policy to lapse) is an example of bad faith. Of course, not all claim denials are in bad faith. Those that lack a reasonable basis either in law or in the terms of your policy.
Underpay. Just because the insurance company intends to cover your storm loss does not mean you will receive the fair value for the damage. Any payout means less profit for the insurer, so there’s an incentive to pay unreasonably low amounts for significant property damage. Insurers that underpay count on policyholders to accept the payment because they want the issue behind them and don’t want any further hassle with the insurance company.
Contact Our Rhode Island Storm Damage Attorney
Don’t sell yourself and your property short by accepting an underpayment, an unjustifiable claim denial, or an unreasonable delay. An experienced Rhode Island storm damage attorney can help level the playing field between you and the insurance company. Call PALUMBO LAW today to discuss your claim.