When disaster strikes our homes, we expect the insurance company to do their best to help us through the process. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Many times, the information coming from the insurance company can be misleading. To keep us fully informed, the following are five things Homeowner’s Insurance companies don’t want us to know:
- We may be Eligible to Receive More Than What We’re Insured For on the Policy: Insurance companies typically charge us for “inflation coverage” or “inflation protection” to cover loss of a home that increased in value since the policy was purchased. But insurance companies usually don’t show us how, or even if, they calculate the increase the policy requires them to pay. So, even if the insurance company pays for a “total loss”, they may not be paying the full amount they actually owe on the claim.
- There is a Narrow Definition of Flood Damage: The burden of proof of flood damage is on the insurance company. Because most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover flood damage, the insurance company might try to claim any water damage is flood damage to avoid having to pay for the damage. If the insurance company does not have enough proof to show damage was actually caused by “flood” as defined by the policy, they are usually responsible to pay for the water damage.
- The Insurance Company is Responsible for Paying for Living Expenses: If a home is damaged so bad that it is uninhabitable, then in most cases the insurance company is responsible for paying necessary expenses for the homeowner to live somewhere else that is similar to the type and quality of the insured home while the claim is adjusted and repairs are made.
- Many Policies Also Pay for Special Circumstances and Additional Damages: Most homeowner’s policies include several types of “special” or “additional” coverages, over and above coverage for the home and personal property. However, these additional coverages are often hidden in the small print. Sometimes the insurance company doesn’t tell us about these additional coverages, even though we paid for them. For example, most policies provide additional coverage for things like debris removal, landscaping, art and antiques, and additional coverage to bring new construction or repairs up to up to existing city codes instead of just repairing the home back to the way it originally was.
- Insurance Companies Sometimes Abuse Our Duty to Cooperate: All homeowner’s policies place a duty on the insured to cooperate with the insurance company in its investigation. Sometimes, insurance companies try to use this duty against us to avoid paying for legitimate claims. They do this by requiring the insured to do so many things and to gather information that simply does not exist that eventually the insured gives up or refuses to provide any further information. Then, the insurance company may try to deny the claim for “failure to cooperate”. Insurance companies don’t want us to know that there are reasonable limits on our duty to cooperate, and that their requests for cooperation must always be reasonable.
For more information, or if you feel you’ve been mistreated or misled by an insurance company, contact Van Cleave Law for a free consultation. Our experienced legal team has years of experience dealing with insurance companies, and wants to make certain everyone gets all the benefits the insurance companies were paid to provide.