Nearly every year, hurricanes and strong tropical storms wreak havoc on Gulf Coast states, including Alabama.
Flooding, falling trees, displaced roof tiles, displaced siding tiles, and other structural damage are some of the issues you could encounter after a hurricane.
If you have homeowners’ insurance, you expect your policy to cover repairs. However, what happens when your insurance company is not responsive or answering your questions?
Unfortunately, this problem is more common than you might think. If you have questions or need assistance with presenting a claim, speak with a hurricane damage attorney at Fob James Law Firm today.
In the past 90 years, nine deadly hurricanes have hit Alabama. Storms don’t have to be a category four or five to cause significant damage either.
Milder hurricanes and tropical storms can cause widespread destruction too.
When you pay for storm damage coverage, you expect your carrier to pay out your claim in a timely manner and respond to your requests for updates.
Fortunately, when insurance companies fall down on the job, our hurricane insurance lawyers are here to help.
Common Types of Hurricane Damage
Homes can sustain a wide array of damage from a hurricane. You may have one or more of the following:
- Downed utilities: Storms can knock out both power and gas lines. Homeowners who are without power and gas cannot stay in their homes.
- Structural damage: Your home can sustain different types of structural damage in a hurricane, which can make the home uninhabitable. You will need one or more professionals to evaluate the damage and determine what repairs are necessary.
- Falling trees: Trees can fall during a storm and cause damage to your home, vehicles, or other parts of your property.
Your home could sustain additional damage once the storm passes as well. Many people don’t think about the aftermath of a hurricane.
There is a risk of disease and contamination from sewage or gas leakage. If your home has water damage inside, you could be looking at mold and bacteria growth. Mold growth can take months to notice.
Once you have mold damage, it’s expensive and challenging to remediate. If you’ve filed a claim with your insurance company and aren’t getting the help you need, it’s time to call a hurricane insurance lawyer.
Problems that Can Arise During the Claims Process
Our hurricane damage lawyers have represented countless clients after devastating storms. We know many of the usual problems that arise during the claims process.
One of the most common issues we see is unnecessary delays. Insurance companies who delay claims may not return messages or calls from their insured customers, or they may fail to schedule a timely inspection.
They might also ask for “additional” documentation you’ve already sent, pay only a portion of what they owe, insist on having multiple inspections done, etc.
Another major problem you might encounter is underpayment. Underpaid claims are common during hurricane season.
Because these insurance companies might be inundated with new claims, they often spend very little time investigating each one.
Mistakes can happen, and items might be omitted. These problems can lead the adjuster to undervalue your claim.
If you don’t have a hurricane insurance lawyer representing your interests, you might be tempted to resolve your claim for a lower amount.
There are multiple shortages to contend with following a catastrophic event like a hurricane.
Materials and supplies skyrocket in price, reputable contractors are swamped, and insurance companies are trying to get through the sudden onslaught of new claims. They will use computer modules to help reach a claim value.
However, the software doesn’t factor in these variables. When you have a hurricane damage attorney representing you, we will calculate your claim value accurately.
Alabama Hurricane Insurance and Bad Faith
If you purchase hurricane insurance in Alabama, it’s essential to know what your policy covers.
When you present a claim, you expect that your insurance company will handle your claim professionally and be accessible when you have questions.
While many insurance companies treat their policyholders fairly, some carriers engage in bad faith tactics. You could collect compensation against your insurance company for this, provided you can show evidence they acted in bad faith.
To succeed in a bad faith claim, you need to prove:
- You had a contract (policy) with your insurance company;
- Your insurance company breached the contract;
- Your insurance company refused to pay a claim; and
- The insurance company had no standing to deny your claim.
The insurance company will respond to an allegation of bad faith by saying they had a valid reason for the denial. If they can prove there are arguable grounds for the denial, they cannot be liable for bad faith.
Abnormal Bad Faith in Alabama
There is also something called abnormal bad faith.
To bring a lawsuit for abnormal bad faith, you allege that your insurance company intentionally failed to investigate your Alabama hurricane insurance claim to avoid determining whether they had grounds for denial.
An example is when an insurance company denies a hurricane claim without ever reviewing your coverage or the facts of your claim.
This shows that they were not interested in finding out if they had valid legal grounds to deny the claim.
To prove abnormal bad faith, you still need to prove the other elements of bad faith. However, you must also prove the insurance company’s intentional failure to determine whether there’s a legal reason to refuse to pay the claim.
This is deliberate ignorance. Insurance companies cannot arbitrarily decide not to investigate a claim. Abnormal bad faith is a problem during hurricane season when insurance companies receive numerous claims simultaneously.
Rather than spend time investigating them, the adjusters may deny them in batches to save resources.
Contact a Hurricane Damage Lawyer
When you present a claim under your homeowner insurance policy, you have the right to expect that your claim will be reviewed and thoroughly investigated.
If this doesn’t happen, you need a skilled hurricane insurance lawyer to get the answers you deserve.
At the Fob James Law Firm, we can review any coverage questions you may have and pursue a claim against an insurance company that could be acting in bad faith.
Alabama hurricane insurance policy language can be confusing. Please don’t attempt to decipher it on your own. Instead, contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Let us put our expertise to work for you and help you to resolve your hurricane claim satisfactorily.