Denied Insurance Claims
Smart homeowners and business owners carry insurance to help pay for their loss when their property is damaged by a storm, fire or another natural disaster, or by acts such as vandalism or theft. In many instances, such insurance is actually required by the mortgage lender or leasing company. Unfortunately, however, when disaster does strike, policyholders often have to deal with denials of their claims by the insurance company. Why do property damage claims get denied? Are the insurance companies acting reasonably, or are they denying claims in bad faith? As a layperson, it can be difficult to know if you are being treated fairly and what you can do if your claim is denied.
When you have questions about what do when a claim is denied, hiring an experienced lawyer to represent you and pursue your claim with the insurance company is the answer. At Velasquez & Associates, we represent Miami policyholders whose residential or commercial property claims are denied. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your claim, and we take your claim on a contingency fee basis. This means our fee is taken as a portion of the amount we recover for you, and if we can’t recover, then you don’t pay. Learn more below about some of the most common reasons why property damage insurance claims are denied, and call Velasquez & Associates for help with a property damage insurance claim denial in Miami.
Notice and Proof of Loss
There are many steps to filing a claim for damages with your insurance company, and failing to follow the steps required in your policy can give the insurer a reason to deny your claim. Typically, you’ll need to notify the insurance company promptly of any loss and provide adequate documentation to support your claim. It is good to review your policy before disaster strikes so you know what steps need to be taken. If your claim is denied because you didn’t take steps you didn’t know about, or if the insurance company is requiring excessive documentation or making you jump through unnecessary hoops, call our Miami insurance law attorney to make sure you are treated fairly.
Generally speaking, property damage is covered under your policy unless it is specifically excluded. Your policy likely contains several exclusions, but it may not be obvious what these are. The company may not have clearly gone over these exclusions with you when you purchased the policy, and they may not be easy to find in the policy itself. Determining whether particular language in a policy is an exclusion or a limitation of coverage can be a complex issue, and understanding the difference between an exclusion and a limitation is critical. Our experienced insurance claim lawyer can read and interpret your policy and fight the insurance company when damage is wrongfully excluded.
When you notice damage to your property and file a claim, the insurance company may allege that the damage you are seeing was pre-existing. This excuse is particularly common in water damage claims due to a leak in the roof or a pipe in the walls. The insurer may claim that you failed to fix the leak in a timely fashion, causing more extensive damage than necessary in violation of your duty to mitigate damages. Yet how would you as the property owner know of a leak before the damage became visible? We’ll bring in experts as necessary to determine the cause of the damage so that we can defend you against claims of negligence or other reasons to deny your claim.
Wear and Tear
If a pipe bursts or a roof leaks, was the leak the result of a sudden and accidental event due to a structural failure, or was it caused by long-term neglect and failure to maintain the property by the owner? This excuse is very similar to the pre-existing damage allegation described above. Expert testimony is often required to determine the cause of a leak. As the property owner, what is your legal duty to know the condition of your roof or the pipes inside your walls, before you ever have reason to suspect a problem or critical failure may occur? These are factual and legal questions our experienced legal team are ready to tackle and confront the insurance company with on your behalf.
Often when a claim is made, especially if the claim is large, the insurance company takes the opportunity to review the policy holder’s payment history and see if there are any late or unpaid payments that could allow them to cancel the policy. They may even go back to the original application and identify inaccuracies or incomplete areas they can use to justify rescinding the policy. The time to review an application is during underwriting before the policy is approved, and insurers should not be allowed to accept premiums for years and years, only to cancel a policy the minute a claim is made. If it can be proven that the insurance company’s reasons for rescission are only pretexts to avoid paying a valid claim, the company may be found in bad faith and held liable for the damages caused.
Miami Property Damage Insurance Claim Denied? Call Attorney Juan Velasquez Today
If your Miami property damage insurance claim is denied, your first step is to call Velasquez & Associates for a free consultation at 786-776-0130. We’ll let you know if we think your claim was unfairly or wrongly denied, and we’ll devote ourselves to getting your claim paid promptly and fully as required by law and the terms of your policy.