Concerned individuals purchase homeowner’s and renter’s insurance to ensure that they are covered if anything detrimental was to happen to their homes or belongings. Taking out an insurance policy is definitely the responsible thing to do, so it can become very frustrating when an insurance company makes it difficult for its policyholders to receive the money to which they are entitled. Homes that incur hail damage often lead to conflicts between the insurer and insured, so it is important that all policyholders know a few simple facts in relation to hail damage claims.
There are several time constraints that a policyholder should understand involving insurance policy and the law. Hail damage should be reported as soon as possible, and an independent contractor should be contacted to inspect the roof immediately after a storm because insurance policies have a particular time frame in which a claim must be made. If that claim is denied, however, the insured once again only has a certain time frame in which they can file a breach of contract suit against their insurance company. This time frame varies from state to state, but it is approximately four years in many areas.
As previously mentioned, it is important to have an experienced roofing contractor inspect a home’s roof and recommend whether or not the roof has sustained sufficient damage to warrant repairs. Ask the roofer if they can be present when the adjuster does his inspection as well. If the roofer is available, then he can ensure that the insurance adjuster does not overlook any damage on the roof. If the roofer cannot be there at the same time as the insurance adjuster, and the adjuster’s conclusion differs from the roofer’s, then it is imperative to request that the adjuster perform another inspection when the roofer is available to discuss the discrepancies and attempt to resolve the issue.
Bad Faith Insurance
It is necessary and beneficial for a homeowner to obtain a lawyer when an insurance company denies his or her hail damage claim. This is due to the fact that the homeowner may be able to recover more financial compensation than just the cost of the roof. Insurers have a legal obligation to act in “good faith” towards their policyholders. This means that they must be honest and never try to “pull one over” or omit possible options that are available to the insured.
According to the partners at Doyle Raizner, our Phoenix hail damage lawyer, some of the ways insurance companies refuse payment to the insured include arguing that:
- the storm damage only requires minor repairs but not replacement
- preexisting damage existed before the storm
- poor construction or maintenance of the property contributed to the loss
If the company violates this obligation to act in good faith, they are instead acting in bad faith. In these cases, the insured can sue the company for the initial costs of the repairs and further compensatory damages as a result of the acts of bad faith. The policyholder can also sue for breach of contract, which means that the insured is likely to recover damages under three separate circumstances if the company knowingly and inappropriately denied a valid claim.
Hail damage can be extremely detrimental to a home and the possessions within it. The damage caused by these chunks of ice can allow water to flow into the roof of a home, and leaking roofs can lead to damaged ceilings, ruined insulation and even the development of dangerous mold. It is vital to know all of the aforementioned steps and rules related to hail damage insurance claims. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so it isn’t hard to imagine that they do not always have their customer’s best interests in mind. Luckily, simply being an informed policyholder will often cause insurers to handle these claims appropriately and honestly from the beginning.
Karla M. Somers is a legal researcher and writer, and contributes this article for the Phoenix hail damage lawyer team of Doyle Raizner. These experienced legal professionals are skilled at helping policyholders recover the proper compensation owed to them by their insurance companies whenever storm damages, personal injury, workplace injury and other claims are filed.