Natural disasters can put your home or business at risk, leaving you without a place to live or an income source. Water leak damage, theft, and other types of damage can cause severe financial losses for homeowners and business owners. However, you should not have to cover the cost of repairs out-of-pocket if a reasonable claim for a fair settlement can be made.
When disaster strikes and your property is damaged or destroyed, you want to begin rebuilding as soon as possible. Unfortunately, dealing with an insurance company can be frustrating in the aftermath of property damage, given their stringent and specific regulations, especially when attempting to recoup your losses in good faith.
If your property has been damaged by a natural accident or someone else’s careless or wrongful act, a qualified attorney at Nessler & Associates can help you maximize your damages.
What is Considered a Property Damage Claim?
A property damage claim is a legal action that owners of damaged property pursue against at-fault parties. While personal injury claims concern bodily injury a victim suffers, property damage claims seek compensation for material damage.
There are several common types of property damage claims.
Homeowner’s insurance claims
In 2020, 97.7% of homeowners insurance claims were related to property damage and theft. Your homeowners insurance policy protects you against various damages that may harm your home or other structures on your property. These include:
- Damage from fire
- Smoke damage
- Storm damage
- Wind damage
- Flooding damage
- Tornado damage
- Mold damage
Theft and vandalism
In cases of theft and vandalism, homeowners insurance covers damaged and stolen personal property. Besides covering theft problems, it can also cover other problems that arise from a break-in, such as the cost of repairing or replacing items that are damaged.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average weighted value of a homeowner’s theft claim is $4,415 between 2016 and 2020.
Vehicle property damage claims
In 2019, over 4,806,000 traffic accidents resulted in property damages in the United States. It was the second most commonly reported auto insurance claim in 2019, with an average of $3,630. A vehicle accident can cause extensive damages that result in large body shop bills or can cause your vehicle to be totaled, as per your insurer.
Commercial property damage
Insurance providers report that 44% of businesses with at least one year of operations do not have a business insurance policy. This leaves these businesses exposed to potential damages that could put their line of work at risk.
A 2015 study found that 40% percent of small businesses are expected to face a property damage claim within a decade. This means most commercial property owners will face some type of property damage claim by 2025.
Filing a Property Damage Claim
A property damage lawyer can help you with your claim when you suffer property damage. The insurance company you file a claim for property damage with will depend on the type of accident or reason.
Property That Can Be Included in a Property Damage Claim
Valid property damage claims aim to recover damages for property that can be assigned monetary value. The types of property you can include:
Everything you own, excluding real property, constitutes your personal property. Some common examples of personal property include furnishings, clothing, and jewelry. Personal property can be considered any movable item you own that can be found in your home, your business, or any other location.
Real property is an asset commonly referred to as real estate. Immovable property such as homes, warehouses, wells, dams, roads, and land can be part of a property damage claim.
Common property, otherwise known as jointly owned property, is property owned by multiple people or entities. Some examples of common properties are driveways and recreational areas.
How Insurance Companies Lowball Their Customers
Property insurance companies and their claims adjusters may use these tactics to act in bad faith and attempt to pay out as little as possible when their customers make claims.
Make a lowball settlement offer
The insurance company may attempt to lowball the initial offer and pressure you to accept it. However, the settlement may not be enough to cover all the property damage losses, such as the repair and replacement costs.
You should never accept an offer from the insurance company before first talking to an attorney who knows the insurance company’s tactics. A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf for a reasonable settlement.
The insurance company may ignore or discredit evidence of property damage. An adjuster may ignore adjacent walls, ceilings, and finishes to a part of your house that suffered water damage despite photographic evidence showing their damage issues.
Photos, videos, and receipts for repairs can prove the type of damage to your property with the help of a lawyer.
Insurers can act slowly to pay claims made by policyholders, hoping that customers will settle quickly for an underpayment on the claim. For example, they can stall investigations by the adjuster, change your representative, request information in increments, and request unnecessary documents and records.
You can seek the help of an experienced property damage attorney at Nessler & Associates to help counter the insurance company’s tactics. We can ensure that your insurance agency honors its contractual obligations timely and efficiently.
At Nessler & Associates, our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that you understand your rights and receive the coverage you are entitled to under your insurance policy.
What to do if Your Property Damage Claim Was Denied
In some cases, insurance companies may even refuse to pay legitimate claims to avoid paying out any money. If your insurance carrier denies your valid property claim, an experienced property damage lawyer can go over your insurance policy and ensure they are not acting in bad faith.
Our lawyers can protect your rights when you file your claim and settle your property damage dispute. They can help you with the following:
- Examine your insurance policy’s terms and conditions in your insurance contract to ensure your claim is valid.
- Calculate the insurance compensation you need based on the cost to repair and replace the damaged property.
- Verify the cost of damaged assets in your home, hotel rooms, and other related expenses in the event of a natural disaster.
- Gather evidence such as police reports, photos, and surveillance footage to form the basis of a valid property claim.
- Work with the insurance company to settle for fair compensation for property damage.
If the insurance company refuses a fair payout for your claim, filing a property damage lawsuit may be necessary. Your attorney can research applicable laws and represent you in court, advocating for your legal right to compensation.
Contact a Property Damage Attorney Today
If an insurance adjuster refuses to offer you a reasonable settlement that matches your property damages or denies your claim outright, call the attorneys at Nessler & Associates for an initial consultation where we can examine your property insurance claim. If there is a negligent party, our law firm will work hard to hold them accountable by recovering economic damages for your losses.
If you need help with a property damage claim, contact our law firm today at (800) 727-8010 for a free, no-obligation legal consultation. Our attorneys understand the complexities of a property damage claim, and by handling your claim from start to finish, we can give you peace of mind and the time you need to recollect your life after a huge loss.