Don't Let an Insurance Company Delay or Discount Your Claim
Is your insurance company giving you the run-around? Not returning your calls? Asking you for records that have nothing to do with your claim? They often do this because they are trying to find a way to not pay your claim. As experienced insurance attorneys who have been representing policyholders only, never insurance companies, for decades, we know the games insurance companies typically play. From our many years helping homeowners with their property damage and hurricane claims, as far back as Hurricane Opal in 1995 to the more recent Hurricane Michael in 2018, Hurricane Sally in 2020, and Hurricane Ian in 2022, we know the steps you need to take to best protect your insurance claim and your right to recover in full. If you have been injured or your property damaged as a result of an accident or storm like Hurricane Sally and it feels like the insurance company is trying to point the finger at you or is just not on your side, here is what you need to know and do:
When Filing an Insurance Claim Be Sure To:
Document your damages. Whether the damage is to your property, your car or your body, document it with photos, video or an inventory. It is sometimes hard to believe but insurance companies often try to downplay, dispute or even ignore your damages so they do not have to pay as much, or perhaps nothing at all, on your claim. You have to remember they are in the business of making money, which means collecting more premiums than they have to pay out in insurance claims. This is why YOU need to gather evidence to prove your claim. Take photos or video of the damage to your home, automobile or body and save it. Create an inventory of damaged and destroyed items. If you have receipts for any items that were damaged or lost, gather and save those. Do not throw out damaged items until an insurance adjuster has visited your property. If your property was damaged by a flood, you need to file the Proof of Loss claim provided by your insurance adjuster within 60 days of the flood.
Keep a running list of your expenses. If you cannot stay in your home as a result of the damage, keep all receipts for additional living expenses you incur as a result of your displacement for submission to your insurance company. Think of hotel costs, additional utilities, food, transportation, etc. Remember to forward your mail to your temporary address and let your insurance company know where you are and how to reach you. If you need to make temporary repairs to your home to lessen further damage—for example, putting boards over blown-out windows to prevent further water intrusion—save all receipts for temporary repairs for reimbursement from your insurance company. DO NOT make permanent repairs to your home without consulting your insurance company as it may not reimburse you for unauthorized expenses. If—as a result of a personal injury you sustained in a car accident, on someone else's property, or at work—you are forced to work less, seek medical treatment and/or hire people to help you do things you can no longer do yourself, create and keep a running list of these expenses. Keep copies of the lists and other documents you submit to your insurance company, copies of what your insurance company gives you, and record the names and phone numbers of everyone at the insurance company you speak to.
Contact an attorney before you speak to the insurance company. The minute you report a claim to the insurance company, they begin gathering evidence. Often they are trying to build a case to support a denial of your claim by compiling documents, facts, even statements from you that make it look like the accident or damage was somehow your fault. The more they can point the finger at you, the less dollars come out of their bottom line. Think of the insurance company's investigation into the accident as a police interrogation. Just as you see on TV people accused of committing a crime are warned, “anything you say or provide can and will be used against you and you have the right to have an attorney,” when dealing with the insurance company, you, too, have the right to have an attorney involved who is looking out for your rights, gathering evidence to prove the true cause of the accident and the full extent of your damages and making sure you take all the right steps to prevent the insurance company's wrongful denial of your claim. If possible, contact an insurance law attorney before you speak to or submit any records to an insurance company.
Whether your insurance claim has been denied, delayed or just ignored, at Taylor, Warren & Weidner, we are here to help and fight back. The insurance company will often try to make you feel like the accident was your fault or your damages are not as extensive as you claim so they do not have to pay as much on your insurance claim. Do not let them. If the insurance company is asking you for multiple statements, not giving you answers you deserve, waiting months and months to pay your claim while you suffer the burden of mounting costs and repairs, fight back. We never charge an initial fee and are happy to discuss a claim, answer your questions about coverage and explain to you your legal rights and we handle all types of insurance claims:
- Fire damage to your property
- Wind damage to your property
- Flood damage to your property
- Hurricane damage to your property
- Tornado damage to your property
- Damage to your Home or Business
- Water Damage to your Home or Business
- Damage to your body for any reason
- Auto Accident
- ERISA Insurance claims
- Long-term disability insurance claims
- Life insurance claims
- Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance claims
Helpful Links and Resources
Read My Florida CFO's Hurricane Ian Disaster Information and Resources.
Read Florida Department of Revenue's guide to Hurricane Ian damage.
Learn how to ensure safe environments, particularly for older people, and prevent injuries from falls.
Learn about FloridaHealth's Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program designed to provide eligible residents who sustain a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury the the necessary services to return to an appropriate level of functioning in their community.
Read the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles' post-accident checklist here.
Read Florida's Department of Financial Services auto insurance toolkit.
Get guidance on how to best prepare for hurricanes from FEMA.
Learn about Florida's traffic incidents by region here.
Read the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountant's Hurricane Ian disaster relief guide.
Read the University of Florida's six steps to filing a property damage insurance claim.
Get advice on damages for personal injuries in Florida from Avvo.com here.
Stay on top of recalls, driving hazards and best safe driving practices via the National Highway Traffic Safety Association website.
Learn how you can use extra caution when driving around bicyclists, motorcyclists and commercial vehicles through Florida's National Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' “Share The Road” campaign.
Learn about current driving and vehicle hazards via the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website.
Read about how the was Florida Injury Prevention Advisory Council (FIPAC) was created to provide injury prevention research and assist in the development, implementation and evaluation of a state-wide Florida Injury Prevention Plan here.
Learn how the Florida Department of Health is monitoring the frequency and working to determine the risk factors for fatal and non-fatal injuries in Florida.
If you do not yet have flood insurance, learn about coverage options through the National Flood Insurance Program at FloodSmart.gov.
Do Not Let an Insurance Company Treat You Unfairly
You do not have to put up with an insurance company that tries to give you the run-around, minimize your damages or pay you less than what you are owed on your insurance claim. The insurance companies have a team of adjusters, accountants and experts working in their best interest and they are all trained and equipped to outlast, outspend and underpay you. If you are battling an insurance company, you need a team working for you. Whether you have a claim for damage to your home, business or motor vehicle, the attorneys at Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock will fight for your claim to make sure the insurance company pays you what you deserve. We never charge an initial fee or cost to sit down with you and explain your insurance rights or your policy. Contact us today to set up a free insurance consultation.