Residential and Commercial Property Loss Claims
Denied, Undervalued Or Delayed Property Insurance Claims
Surprise! The Insurance Company Is Not Your Friend
Like automobile insurance, property damage insurance usually isn’t optional – the bank that holds your mortgage will require it. Insurance policies are contracts between the insurance company and the policyholder. Unfortunately, California law doesn’t say that policies have to be written in plain English. The typical property damage policy has many pages of technical language.
Most home and business owners simply pay their premiums (often over $1,000 a year for a residential policy) and never even attempt to read their policies until after they have a loss. Those who do try to wade through the pages of coverage and exclusions often give up after trying to make sense of reams of insurance industry lingo.
Now, you’re thinking “my property insurance company is there to help me when I have a loss, right?” After all, I see their “good hands” and “like a good neighbor” advertising all the time. Although you might expect your insurer to honor a legitimate claim, insurers often try to find a way to avoid pay for repairing damage to California properties from any of the following:
- Water damage from a broken pipe, heavy rain or a sewer line backup
- Damage from wildfire or other fire
- Roof damage from wind or lightning
- Theft of insured personal property
Property insurance policyholders file claims in the reasonable belief that they will be made whole by their insurance. After all, Isn’t that what you pay premiums for? Sadly, that’s not always true.
While perhaps more common in winter climates in which water pipes can freeze, water damage from a burst pipe is not just a cold weather issue. You return from a weekend trip to discover your water heater or a sink water supply line has ruptured from corrosion or from stress on a weak pipe. Your bathroom has flooded, causing your dining room ceiling to collapse. Heavy rain can also overwhelm even clean gutters and flood your basement. Drain backups are also common and can cause sewage to back up into your cellar or, even worse, your laundry room.
Damage From Fire
Although wildfires in California are in the news daily, there are many other ways your home or business can burn. Electrical system shorts, furnace malfunctions and careless smokers can all ignite a damaging blaze. Whether accidental or deliberately set, fire can destroy your home or business and its contents in mere minutes.
Wind and Lightning Damage To Roofs
Golden State residents are all too familiar with the Santa Ana and Diablo winds that blow through Southern California’s canyons. These often reach or even exceed hurricane velocity. In addition to igniting or fanning wildfires, high wind, as well as lightning, can seriously damage even the sturdiest roof or structure.
Whether from a natural gas leak, home water heater, commercial boiler defect or other cause, explosions are among the most devastating accidents a home or business owner can face. News reports show properties, sometimes entire neighborhoods, leveled by such blasts.
Theft of Insured Personal Property
Expensive jewelry, rare coin or artwork collections are all fair game for burglars. Even the most sophisticated alarm system can’t always stop a home intrusion and theft of insured valuables. You should be sure that any items of exceptional value are separately insured. Having appraisals and pictures of the stolen items will also be of tremendous help if your insurance company denies or undervalues your claim.
How Can An Experienced Southern California Insurance Lawyer Help Me?
Disasters such as wildfires and mudslides are common in California. As property insurance companies try to keep up with the many claims that follow such events, denials, as well as delays of weeks or even months, are common.
Our experienced attorneys know that claim denials and delays can have serious negative financial effects on home and business owners. Most insurers do eventually pay legitimate claims. However, at the Law Offices Of Eslamboly Hakim we have seen many cases in which companies in bad faith deny coverage or offer to pay much less than the true value of the loss. Sometimes they misinterpret their own policies, and sometimes they cite a contract clause to avoid paying the claim at all.
If you have made a property damage claim and believe it has been wrongfully denied or undervalued, don’t give up. We will meet with you to evaluate your case and advise you as to how strong your dispute claim is.
First Things First – We Will Read The Policy
As with any written contract, the first step is for one of our attorneys to closely read your policy. We will determine what coverage you have and what exclusions or limitations may apply (for example, flood damage). Once we have determined that the damage appears to be covered, we will also want to review any reports or other property documentation you have. For example, a building permit for improvements can be invaluable in pursuing a damage claim.
How Our Attorneys Can Resolve Your Dispute
We know that it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. However, litigation is expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, the first step we’ll take is to contact their claims department to let them know we represent you. We will then explain why we think they are wrong in denying or valuing your claim and present whatever information we have in support.
We’ll give them a reasonable time to respond. Often, this is as far as the process needs to go. We have had many successful cases in which a lawsuit was avoided through a carefully prepared presentation to the insurer.
If the insurer “digs in” and refuses to pay or continues to undervalue your claim, our attorneys are not afraid to fight. Unlike the insurer or even an independent adjuster, we are there only for you. If that means suing to get the compensation that’s rightfully yours, we will aggressively pursue your case.
Contact Us Today
If you have a property damage claim which you believe has been wrongfully denied, delayed or “low balled”, we know that every day that passes means more financial hardship for you and your loved ones. We have decades of experience and know how to get insurance companies to “do the right thing”. Contact us today to make an appointment for a no-obligation consultation. You will be glad you did.
Contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim
If you or a loved one suffered a Residential and Commercial Property Loss, contact our attorneys to help you. Schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer experienced in Property Loss Claims. Contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim in Los Angeles County. Call 800-LAW-TALK (529-8255) or contact us online.