If you’re like the majority of American families, your family’s single largest asset is your home. To protect your investment, you insure your home with a homeowner’s policy with the expectation that if anything happens to diminish the value of this valuable asset, the damage will be repaired or the structure replaced.
You may think that your insurance company exists to help families like yours repair or rebuild a damaged home. In fact, homeowner’s carriers, like all insurance companies, exist for the benefit of their investors, and their mission and reason for being is to generate profits. This is accomplished by selling a large number of policies and pulling in large amounts in premiums while paying out the very least possible in claims. Their interest in profits and you interest in security are at odds, and filing a claim may place you in an adversarial position with your homeowner’s insurance carrier. You need to repair your home so you and your family can pick up the pieces of your life after your home has been damaged; your insurance company sees every claim as a dent in their total profits, the financial return to their investors, and the bonuses they are able to pay to their executives.
Knowing this, you should not be too surprised if a prompt payment of your claim is not forthcoming. Many homeowner’s carriers will use any excuse to deny or minimize your claim. It is simply not in their best interest. Insurance adjusters are well trained in finding reasons to deny or diminish claims, or they may even ignore your claim altogether.
What Constitutes Homeowner’s Insurance Bad Faith
An insurance company has a legal obligation to deal with you fairly and in accordance with the terms set forth in your policy. These are some ways in which companies commonly try to avoid this obligation that may be considered acting in bad faith.
- Denying your claim without reasonable grounds;
- Extensive delays making a payment decision on the claim;
- Ignoring or failing to respond to your claim;
- Offering for a payment far below what is needed to repair your home;
- Repeatedly asking for more information, ordering more inspections, or insisting on additional interviews;
Damages from Bad Faith
In a bad faith claim with the help of a skilled attorney, you can potentially recover more than you were originally owed under the policy, including economic damages resulting from the insurer’s bad faith conduct, as well as compensation for inconvenience, stress, and attorney fees. In cases where your bad faith attorney can successfully demonstrate that the insurer intentionally put its interests ahead of yours, you may be awarded punitive damages, aimed at punishing the behavior and deterring the company from repeating it in the future.
Experienced Counsel for the Best Outcome
At the Surrano Law Firm, we focus our practice exclusively on insurance company bad faith, and because this is all we do, we have developed the highest level of competence in this specialized area and a have a long and well documented record of successful recoveries for our clients. We know insurance law and understand the goals of insurance companies and the methods they use to achieve them. We are able to put this knowledge and experience to use on your behalf. Call us to arrange a consultation, and we will advise you on the best course of action available. The initial meeting is free, and we will work out an easy payment arrangement or contingency agreement that works for you.