It has been estimated that the dollar amount of the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy could top $50 billion dollars. While taxpayer dollars will fund much of the cost to rebuild infrastructure and public services, the cost to replace private property of the many individuals and businesses affected by the storm will largely be paid by insurance dollars.
Following a loss, the owner of an insurance policy typically must make a claim to their insurance company in order to receive insurance benefits covering the loss. Claims are subjected to a rigorous review process by insurance companies, who will review the facts surrounding the claim and the terms of the insurance policy in determining whether to pay or deny a claim. Due to the rigorous claims review process, policyholders should take certain precautions when making claims to their insurance company in order to maximize their chances for success on the claim.
All damaged items, fixtures and property should be thoroughly documented, photographed and/or videotaped. Additionally, copies of all insurance policy materials, policy application materials, and any supplemental policy materials should be reviewed before submitting a claim. This way, the policyholder will know the terms of the policy ahead of time and be prepared for any potential issues. For example, most homeowners insurance policies cover wind damage to a house and its contents, however flood coverage is typically a supplemental option and may not be covered under such a policy. Further, a record of all communications with the insurance company and its claims adjusters should be kept during the claims process in order to document the timeframe of the claim and the substance of the communications. Finally, claims should be made promptly and without unreasonable delay, otherwise a policyholder risks losing the ability to make a claim in the first instance.
Ideally, timely and properly-submitted claims will be paid by insurance companies. This, unfortunately, does not always happen. Many times, claims are delayed, under-compensated by insurance companies or denied outright due to no fault of the policyholder. In this regard, insurance companies occasionally misinterpret the relevant terms of insurance policies to the detriment of policyholders. Other times, individuals or businesses are unknowingly, and through no fault of their own, underinsured or uninsured at the time of a loss due to an insurance broker’s negligent failure to secure all appropriate coverages before the loss.
If you believe your insurance claim resulting from Hurricane Sandy or any other event was improperly delayed or denied, or that you were under-compensated by your insurance company for your loss, you should contact The Reinartz Law Firm to discuss your case. We are fully conversant in insurance law and the terms of the policies written by all major insurance carriers. Our offices are located in the Journal Square section of Jersey City, New Jersey and downtown New York City.
Just because your claim wasn’t paid by your insurance company doesn’t necessarily mean you are precluded from pursuing compensation for your loss.