If you feel like your homeowners insurance company is treating you unfairly or offering you less than an amount you feel is fair, they probably are… With over 2,000 combined homes lost to the Butte Fire and Valley Fire, thousands of fire victims are now starting the process of rebuilding by contacting their homeowners insurance company with the expectation of being treated fairly during these trying times. Unfortunately, many large insurance companies, consumed with increasing profits, will act in “bad faith” by placing restrictive procedures on their adjusters that make it extremely difficult to process claims in a fair manner for fire claimants. Even more common, insurance company representatives are asked to put on a friendly face, attempt to appear sincere about their intentions to help you, and then knowingly underpay you on your fire claim. Vicious.
Making matters worse is the fact that many of those who lost their homes are severely traumatized and feel desperate, making them more willing to accept any settlement offer from their insurance due to their current situation. Insurance companies are well aware of your compromised state and regularly make lowball offers, which do not adequately cover all your damages. It is a routine occurrence with natural disasters that subject insurance companies to large scale financial liabilities and was recently exposed with Hurricane Sandy, when over a thousand homeowners had to file lawsuits against their own homeowners insurance companies for denying or not adequately covering damages caused by the flooding. Along these same lines, Florida’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability recently released a report that revealed that policyholders received on average 574% more compensation when they hired a professional to assist them in dealing their insurance company, as opposed to dealing directly with their homeowners insurance company.
Your insurance company owes you a duty to act in good faith towards you and your claim. This means that they must conduct a thorough, fair and prompt investigation of your claim and refrain from acting in a way that would unreasonably delay your claim. However, insurance companies know that many homeowners are not aware of their rights and thus will act in bad faith in an effort put their own interests (profit) before yours. If your insurance company has acted in bad faith towards you and your claim, you are entitled to bring a “bad faith” lawsuit against them, which may entitle you to additional damages beyond the value of your fire claim.
Acts of “bad faith”:
– unreasonably denying claims
– knowingly underpaying on legitimate claims (most common)
– refusing to thoroughly investigate claims in a timely manner
– changing adjusters solely for the purpose of delaying negotiations
– delaying payment
Your insurance company has a financial incentive to pay you less than you deserve. Despite people’s tendency to blindly view their insurance company as a trustworthy ally, insurance companies regularly deny and underpay legitimate claims because they are a for-profit business; not a charitable organization. Don’t let your insurance company take advantage of you. If you are fed up with going it alone or feel like you aren’t being treated fairly, bring us your insurance company’s last written offer and let us help you make sure that you recover every dollar that is available to you. The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan’s experienced and knowledgeable negotiators will fight to get you every dollar that is owed to you. In terms of compensation, we will split any additional funds, beyond their last written offer to you that we are able to obtain on your behalf. If we can’t get you more money, you don’t owe us anything for our time or efforts. With nothing to lose, you owe it to yourself and your family to make sure you recover every dollar possible and don’t allow the insurance company to take advantage of you due to your lack of claims experience and negotiating leverage. Call us today for a free case evaluation: (415) 345-4282.
The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan is an industry-recognized, Personal Injury and Insurance Claim Disputes law firm that has served Northern California for over 10 years.