Home ownership has long been a goal of US citizens. That truth has manifested itself into a roughly 65% rate of ownership throughout the country.
While owning a home is a symbol of economic security and freedom, it also comes with drawbacks. Namely, homeowners have to contend with insurance providers that don’t always operate above board.
If you’ve ever had damage done to your house and have had trouble getting your insurance company to pay, you know what we’re talking about. In some cases, an insurance company’s actions are so egregious that you have to call in a homeowners insurance attorney to resolve the dispute.
There are several reasons why it’s prudent to find an attorney when dealing with insurance. Here are a few common ones:
1. Understanding Your Insurance Policy Prior to Purchase
When people think about hiring a home insurance attorney, it’s usually in the context of resolving problems. What many people don’t think of is calling an attorney before problems arise.
By having an attorney review an insurance policy prior to you purchasing it, you can avoid costly lawsuits down the line. Believe us when we say that the costs associated with a lawyer performing document review pales in comparison to what it might cost to have an attorney represent you in court after getting burned.
2. Filing a Big Claim
If you’re making a big claim against your insurance policy, you must fill out your claim correctly. Not doing so could severely inhibit your ability to receive a favorable outcome.
A homeowners insurance attorney can be invaluable to that end.
Attorneys can help you review claim guidelines. They can then make sure that all of your filing obligations are met so you can boost your chances of getting a payout before needing to be sent to an appeals hearing.
3. Dealing With Appeals Hearings
When an insurance claim is denied by your company, you have the right to demand an appeal. This appeal is usually conducted internally by a party that was not involved with your original claim audit.
It’s very important that you mind your attention to detail when filling out an appeals claim. If your claim is denied during this stage, your only recourse will be to sue.
Homeowners insurance attorneys should be brought on during appeals if they haven’t been already. As we’ve mentioned, they can ensure that what you submit supports requirements set forth by your insurance company.
4. Assessing a Settlement
It may be that your homeowners insurance isn’t willing to pay for your whole claim. In these cases, they might offer you a settlement that makes up a portion of what you’re asking for.
Before accepting or declining that settlement, get the perspective of an attorney. They can let you know whether or not pushing back on the offer is likely to net you a better deal or if you’d be smart to take what’s being extended.
5. Delayed Payments
Fly-by-night insurance companies have been known to delay or neglect to pay approved claims. Payment delays could be due to reasonable issues like clerical errors or more insidious ones like insurers trying to hide their impending insolvency.
In either case, you’re entitled to your money and should immediately have a legal professional contact your insurer to let them know they’re being watched.
A simple letter from an attorney may get the wheels turning at your insurance company.
6. Unexplained Policy Termination
Insurers that unexpectedly cancel your policy after you file a claim are violating their obligations. All policy terminations need to take place after you’ve been notified in writing of impending termination.
If you were not notified and your policy was canceled, an attorney can help get your policy restored and push your insurer to pay pending claims.
7. Opposing Legal Intervention
Insurance companies may try to intimidate you to drop your claim by saying that they’re getting legal counsel involved. In these cases, that threat of bringing in attorneys probably isn’t a bluff since most insurers have lawyers on retainer.
Never deal with an opposing attorney directly. They are never there to help you achieve your interests and have the sole obligation of getting their company the best outcome.
The moment an attorney is mentioned by an opposing party, be sure that you have one representing you as well. You can let your insurer know at that point that all further communications should be directed to your legal counsel.
8. Going to Court
Nobody wants to go to court. That’s true of you, your insurer and the lawyers representing the conflict. Given that court aversion, most insurance companies will want to settle a dispute before getting a judge involved.
In cases where that doesn’t happen, you’ll want a good trial lawyer by your side that’s willing to work hard to earn you a favorable judgment.
Hiring a Homeowners Insurance Attorney Can Have Big Impact on Your Claim
If you’re among those that shudder when you think about hiring a homeowners insurance attorney and the fees associated with doing so, think again. Not only do most insurance attorneys work on commission but they can earn you more money than you could have gotten on your own which may far outweigh their fees.
Bottom line, consult with an attorney and see what they have to offer. We have a feeling you’ll be glad you did.
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