It has happened to me before. When Hurricane Sally hit the Alabama Gulf Coast, it sat over Mobile Bay for hours, blasting the roofs of our homes, blowing down trees, and flooding streets and houses all over Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Our own roof had been severely damaged. We had huge patches of missing shingles and fascia blown away completely, leaving exposed the naked wood underneath. In short, it was a disaster. Even though I paid a crew to put a tarp on the roof as soon as possible and filed my claim within a few short days, the insurance company didn’t want to do the right thing. We needed a new roof, but all the insurance company wanted to pay for was a cheap patch-up job. Their initial settlement offer was only about half of the true cost of repairing the damage. I had paid them faithfully for years, and this was my first claim. It was insulting.
Eventually, and with the help of an independent adjuster, I was able to convince them to do the right thing, but I can only imagine how difficult that process would have been if I had not been a lawyer myself. The simple fact is that insurance companies sometimes wrongfully deny valid claims. It really is all about the money. They want to save as much money as possible, and they do that by paying as little as possible, even if it leaves you with a damaged home. So they may only offer you half the amount of actual damage you’ve suffered, particularly in the case of homes damaged by storms, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.
If this has happened to you, know that you do have rights. They should not deny your claim without conducting a bona fide investigation. They should not pay you $15,000 for $30,000 of damage (assuming your deductible is low enough). If an insurance company asks you to sign any papers, you should read it carefully before signing it. Don’t give away any of your rights. If you don’t understand anything they’re trying to do, call a lawyer immediately.
If you or someone you love has been dealt with unfairly by an insurance company, call our office for a free consultation. 251.272.9148.