You entered a contract with your insurance provider. You agreed to pay monthly premiums, and it agreed to offer coverage for certain damages. Yet, after filing a claim, you may find yourself dealing with uncooperative claims adjusters, unanswered messages, and a host of other complications. These are known as “bad faith insurance practices,” or tactics designed to derail your claim.
A Clearwater bad faith insurance claims lawyer from Dolman Law Group can pursue the compensation you need to rebuild your home or business. We don't tolerate bad faith insurance practices, although we deal with them every day. Contact us today to begin your no-obligation case evaluation. We're eager to start work on your claim now.
- Dolman Law Group Represents Property Owners in Clearwater
- Our Attorneys Represent Clearwater Policyholders in Bad Faith Insurance Cases
- Our Clearwater Bad Faith Insurance Claims Attorneys Combat Denials
- Your Property Damage Claim Could Cover These Expenses
- Possible Exclusions in Your Property Damage Policy
- You Have Legal Options if the Insurer Acts in Bad Faith
- What Can I Do to Support My Property Damage Claim in Clearwater?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Clearwater Bad Faith Claims
- Understanding Clearwater Property Damage and Claims
- Discuss Your Options With Our Clearwater Bad Faith Insurance Claims Team
Dolman Law Group Represents Property Owners in Clearwater
At Dolman Law Group, our team of property damage attorneys can step in and take over your claim any time you ask us to. We handle bad faith insurance cases daily. We know what it takes to negotiate a fair settlement and when to sue an insurer. You do not have to fight an insurance company and its bad behavior on your own.
Call us, and we can go to work for you when:
- The insurance company causes unreasonable delays.
- The insurer refuses to pay for damages from covered perils.
- The adjuster will not cooperate or is difficult to work with.
- The insurance carrier denies your claim.
- You are not sure what your claim is worth.
- You are unsure of how to handle a property damage claim.
When an insurance company learns we are representing its policyholder, it could agree to offer what you need. Insurance companies respect us. They know we tirelessly advocate for people in your position. They also know we're not afraid of filing a bad faith insurance lawsuit and going to court.
We Help Clearwater Policyholders on a Contingency-Fee Basis
Your insurance company can frustrate you when it behaves badly. We want you to trust our firm and know we fight for your best interests. So, we work based on contingency fees. We do not charge by the hour or upfront. Instead, we charge only after we recover compensation in your case.
We receive a percentage of your settlement as payment for our help. We agree on this sum before we start your case. Our team can answer your questions during your initial consultation. These discussions are free, and there is no obligation to hire our team. However, we often find people want us to handle their claims after learning about our strategies and success with similar cases.
Our Attorneys Represent Clearwater Policyholders in Bad Faith Insurance Cases
Bad faith occurs when insurance companies do not uphold their end of the contract with a policyholder. They have an obligation to pay policyholders according to the terms of the policy. When a covered peril occurs, some insurers fail to act appropriately and help property owners recover the money they deserve. This also occurs with business insurance, renter's insurance, and other property damage claims.
Here's what you can expect from our property damage team:
We Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim
To ensure our client's claim has the strongest support possible, we gather evidence to show how much their repairs and replacement will likely cost.
- Documenting the damage outside and inside the structure
- Putting a reasonable repair estimate on the damage
- Listing personal property losses
- Valuing the property losses based on the policy terms
- Gathering receipts for related expenses
- Estimating temporary relocation costs
Once we have a strong understanding of the coverage promised to our client and the value of their case, we take the necessary steps to fight for the money they deserve. When the insurance company continues to refuse a fair payout or use other bad faith tactics, we can sue.
We Manage Your Case's Legal Deadlines
In most cases, homeowners can initiate litigation within five years. This five-year deadline begins from the date your property damage occurred. By acting within this timeframe, we can sue the insurance company for its wrongful practices. If you wait too long to notify our team about your damages, the deadline could expire, and so could your right to damages.
We Take Care of All Case-Related Communications
Managing a complicated insurance claim involves juggling communications with multiple parties, including claims adjusters, other attorneys, and investigators. You shouldn't have to deal with endless phone calls and emails after your property sustains damage. You deserve to focus on rebuilding your life.
Our team manages all communications your claim requires to reach a fair outcome. With our team advocating for you, if an involved party demands you give a statement, refer them to us.
Our Clearwater Bad Faith Insurance Claims Attorneys Combat Denials
Sometimes, insurance adjusters don't resort to bad faith insurance practices. Instead, they just deny claims for no valid reason. This occurs more often than most people realize. If it happens to you, do not panic. There are generally options for challenging this decision.
If you receive a denial notice, contact our team immediately. We can go to work on your case quickly after a denial.
During our initial meeting, we can review:
- The extent of your property's damage
- Your insurance policy
- Your denial notice
- Other facts of your case
Your denial notice should outline why the insurance company refuses to cover your losses. This is a key part of this notice, and failing to include it could prove a bad faith case against the insurer in court.
We Learn the Reason for Your Denied Claim and Act Accordingly
As noted, insurers must give reasons for denied claims. That gives you a plan of action for contesting the denial.
Some reasons for denied claims include:
- The policyholder missed the filing deadline for their claim.
- The policyholder missed paying premiums, and the insurer dropped their coverage.
- The damage occurred because of an excluded peril or another exclusion in the terms.
- There is insufficient evidence regarding the claim.
- The policyholder did not supply the right type of documentation.
- The policyholder failed to act to limit further losses.
- The insurer believes the policyholder is lying or misrepresenting the damage.
In any of these cases, there might be a way to challenge the decision and demand just compensation based on the liable policy. This depends greatly on the circumstances and facts of the case. Sometimes, insurers reconsider claims and accept additional evidence once they learn we're on the case. They know we represent policyholders' best interests.
We Appeal Denied Claims in Clearwater
Sometimes, we need to file an official appeal, submit additional evidence, and navigate the claims process to secure what our clients need. Each insurer has its own appeals process, but they all generally work the same way. We submit evidence and the claim, and the insurance company reviews it.
- It makes an offer, often leading to settlement negotiations.
- It denies the claim again, forcing us to consider other options.
When it comes to challenging a denial, many property owners say they feel alone, confused, and frustrated. Know you do not have to accept a denial, and you do not have to do this alone. Our attorneys can help. You can trust our team to represent your best interests and fight for the money you deserve from start to finish.
We Outline Your Options, So You Can Make Informed Decisions
We ensure you understand your coverage options and the promises made by the insurer, as well as your right to hold it responsible.
When you call on our team, we can:
- Determine why the insurer denied your claim
- Explain your options for fighting the denial
- Navigate your next steps (often the appeals process)
- Negotiate with the insurance company for just compensation when possible
- Sue the insurer in civil court if it refuses to act in good faith
Our attorneys are here to help when you do not know where else to turn. Your insurance company should support you after a property damage event. You have a contract that promises coverage after your home or business sustains damage. When the insurer reneges on this promise, it makes this time even more challenging. You deserve better. Let us hold the insurer accountable for the compensation it promised.
Your Property Damage Claim Could Cover These Expenses
When a property owner has damage, they want to file a claim, recover money from their insurer, and make repairs as quickly as possible. No one wants to live in limbo longer than necessary. When there is property damage, families might need to stay in a temporary location, or businesses could remain closed until repairs are complete.
Your policy may offer coverage for:
Repair to Your Dwelling and Other Structures
Property damage insurance should cover the expenses related to your home's damage and repair.
Some common repairs include:
- Roof repair or replacement
- Broken windows
- Siding repair
- Drywall removal and installation
- New flooring
- Mold remediation
Your insurance should pay for any part of your home that suffers damage because of a covered peril.
Generally, homeowners insurance coverage also pays for damage to other dwellings on your property. This includes other buildings, sheds, fences, decks, and workshops. Policies for these structures are often different than the ones for your primary dwelling, though. For example, you might have a different deductible or coverage limit. We can assess your coverage options and fight for what you need.
Personal Property Replacement Coverage
When items—electronics, appliances, furniture, and more—sustain damage or require replacement after a covered peril, your insurance policy likely provides compensation. For example, imagine a busted pipe dumps water throughout the ground floor of your home. Your furniture and appliances suffer water damage. You will need new flooring (considered a home repair) and to replace your living room furniture. This falls under your personal property replacement coverage.
This coverage provides either the actual cash value of the item or the replacement value, depending on the policy. The actual cash value considers depreciation, while the replacement value does not.
Your insurer will likely ask you to provide a list of your damaged or lost items, their value, and documentation of your purchases. Our attorneys can help you with this process if you aren't sure of your next steps.
Temporary Relocation Coverage
When your home sustains serious damage, it could be uninhabitable until after you make repairs. This means you need to pay for a hotel, apartment, or another spot to stay until you settle your claim and complete the repairs. This coverage could also provide compensation for other related expenses, such as transportation costs, boarding your pets, and more.
This coverage often has limits that affect how much you can recover or for how long the insurer will pay your relocation expenses. Our team can review your policy and offer advice on documenting your related costs.
Possible Exclusions in Your Property Damage Policy
Every property damage policy has exclusions. This could include uncovered perils, perils with additional deductibles, or other terms that limit your recovery in certain situations. Some common exceptions include flooding and earthquakes. Clearwater residents have a state law that ensures they have access to sinkhole insurance, although strict terms could apply. Some companies also use increased deductibles for damage caused by named storms and hurricanes.
In some cases, the insurer does not exclude a covered peril but argues that it does. This commonly occurs in instances of vandalism, theft, and other intentional acts. It may demand that you pursue a case against the at-fault party instead of compensating you.
Our attorneys can review your policy and identify any exclusions. We can also explain how they could affect your claim.
You Have Legal Options if the Insurer Acts in Bad Faith
You have protections under the Florida Homeowners Bill of Rights. This document outlines your rights as a policyholder and gives a timeline regarding how the insurer should act.
It notes that:
- Your insurance company has to acknowledge your claim within 14 days of its submission.
- The insurer must explain whether it's investigating, denying, or approving your claim within 30 days of getting your Proof of Loss statement.
- After 90 days of submitting your claim, the insurer should have made a decision regarding your claim, such as whether to pay for your damages partially or in full.
If your insurer doesn't deny your claim, but you still don't get payment within 90 days, it could owe you interest on the sum you requested. Our team can uphold your right to damages by holding the insurer accountable for what you need.
What Can I Do to Support My Property Damage Claim in Clearwater?
The following measures could compel the insurer to process your claim in good faith:
Comprehensively Document Your Losses
The more information you have to support your property damage claim, the less likely the insurer is to deny it. Supporting information in your case could include photos and videos of your property's damage, receipts for various expenses, and even written communications between you and other relevant parties.
If you don't know how to gather evidence following a covered event, that's okay. Our team of investigators can collect the information needed to secure an approval.
Refuse to Give a Recorded Statement
After providing the insurer with information regarding your losses, it shouldn't ask for a recorded statement. Recorded statements allow the insurance company to parse through your words and deny coverage for certain items. You're not obligated to give one, either. Our team can manage communications with the insurer and advocate for what you need. As noted, we can also protect you from any bad faith insurance tactics that attempt to derail your case.
Mitigate Further Damage to Your Home
As a policyholder, you must mitigate further damage to your property in the aftermath of a covered peril. For instance, suppose you're filing a claim following a hurricane. The insurer expects that you'll board up broken windows or cover any holes in your roof with tarps.
If the insurer believes that you're pursuing compensation for damage that happened after the hurricane, it may not offer coverage. It could assert that because you didn't take certain measures to safeguard your property, it's not liable for your losses.
Consider Prompt Legal Action
The state's statute of limitations isn't the only reason to consider prompt legal action in the aftermath of a covered peril. We want to have total control over your claim from start to finish——or, at least, as early as possible. This allows us to gather time-sensitive evidence and prevent the insurer from contesting certain parts of your case.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Clearwater Bad Faith Claims
If you run into issues getting fair compensation from your property damage insurance provider, our team can review your case for free. We can give more specific answers to your questions during a free case consultation. If you are looking for general information, we included the answers to the most common questions our clients ask below.
Why Would I Want an Attorney to Handle My Insurance Claim?
When an insurer operates in bad faith, you want an advocate on your side who understands how the industry works and the laws that insurance companies must uphold. Our team of Clearwater property damage attorneys can navigate the claims process on your behalf, fight for the compensation you deserve, and ensure the insurance company acts according to the rules.
When an insurance company refuses to pay a policyholder in good faith, our lawyers sue the insurer and go to trial. This allows us to hold the insurance carrier legally responsible for its bad behavior and our client's damages.
When Should I Call a Lawyer About My Property Damage Claim?
We recommend connecting with our team for your free case evaluation as soon as you run into an issue with the insurance company. We handle some claims from start to finish. However, if you already began your claim and then ran into delays, lowball offers, rude adjusters, or unreasonable requests for documentation, our team is here to help, too.
As noted, we provide free initial consultations. We can assess your options, discuss your case, and review your policy. We can help you seek compensation for your property damages or sue the insurance company for bad faith, if necessary.
How Can I Find out More About My Insurance Coverage?
Our attorneys understand how insurance policies work, the terms they use, and the coverage they provide. We review property damage policies with our clients regularly. We can assess your coverage and offer advice based on the current damage to your home or business.
We are ready to review your policy and help you pursue a fair payout today.
How Do I Know What a Fair Settlement Is?
Your settlement should reflect the cost of replacing or repairing certain aspects of your property. You can learn about these costs by reviewing billing statements, invoices, receipts, and documentation of other out-of-pocket losses. However, you don't have to guess when it comes to what you deserve. Our team can evaluate your policy's details and determine how much you can seek.
Can I Trust My Insurance Company to Compensate Me Fairly?
Unfortunately, your insurance company is not on your side after employing bad faith insurance practices. While insurers must operate in good faith, they still do everything possible to protect their bottom lines. It is possible to get a fair payout in many cases. However, it pays not to trust your insurance company during this process.
Your insurance company is unlikely to offer a fair payout initially. It will not begin with the best offer. Unless you have training in effective negotiation techniques, it might be difficult to get a fair offer. You must understand the cost of your repairs and other covered losses when accepting an offer.
What Is Bad Faith?
Bad faith is the term for what happens when an insurance company takes actions to intentionally avoid its obligations to pay policyholders. When an insurance company sells a policy to a homeowner, that policy is a contract. After a covered peril, the insurer has contractual obligations to pay the policyholder according to the rules in the policy. However, many use tactics to avoid giving claimants fair compensation. This is acting in bad faith.
Since an insurance policy is a contract, acting in bad faith violates a contract. Based on this, we can sue these insurance companies and ask a judge and jury to award the policyholder the money they deserve based on their coverage.
How Will I Know if I Need to Sue the Insurance Company?
We recommend reaching out to our team as soon as you recognize a problem with your claim. These problems could range from lowball settlement offers to unreasonable delays. We can often help our clients recover money through the insurance claims process. Most insurance companies know better than to operate in obvious bad faith when the policyholder has a lawyer.
When we represent you and consider the behavior of the claims adjuster working on your case, we could advise you to sue the insurance company. This is only necessary if it refuses to pay you appropriately based on your property damage, coverage, terms, and other factors.
How Long Will the Claims Process Take?
Unfortunately, there is no way to determine how long it could take to recover the money you need, get repairs completed, and put this ordeal behind you. The quickest option is to settle with the insurance company during the initial claims process. However, it is not worth settling for far less than your case is worth. You need the promised compensation to pay your bills and get your life back to normal.
If the insurance company does not settle, a lawsuit might be necessary. A settlement could still occur after we file the lawsuit. This is generally faster than taking the case to trial, too. However, sometimes, we need to take the insurance company before a judge and jury to pursue fair compensation.
What if I Cannot Remain in My Home Throughout This Process?
Most homeowners insurance policies provide some coverage for temporary relocation expenses. The terms vary widely. However, these terms could pay for somewhere to stay, basic expenses, pet boarding, laundry, and other costs based on your policy. This insurance only applies when you cannot occupy your home because of a covered peril.
This coverage provides compensation for a range of damages. We recommend saving all your receipts and other documentation during this time. We can go through this information to determine which expenses fall under covered categories and which do not.
How Do I Pay for an Attorney to Handle My Property Damage Claim?
At Dolman Law Group, our attorneys represent clients based on contingency. We do not ask our clients to pay upfront or by the hour. We understand you need to keep as much cash in your pocket as possible during this challenging time. If you decide to work with us, you don't pay anything before we recover compensation for you. We use our firm's resources to build your claim and take action.
We get paid from the compensation we recover for you. We do not charge attorney's fees unless we win. Learn more during your free consultation with our team.
How Can I Find Out More About My Legal Options?
Dolman Law Group offers complimentary initial consultations for property owners with damage in Clearwater. We want to discuss your claim and options with you for free. Here, we can review your situation, talk about your case, and help you understand the options available.
Understanding Clearwater Property Damage and Claims
Clearwater is in one of the most expensive homeowners insurance markets in the country. This is, in part, because of the high risk of many covered perils in the area. For example, the Florida Climate Center shows there are about 80 days a year when the state's west coast receives severe weather, such as thunderstorms.
Hurricanes, high winds, hail, lightning, and water damage from roof leaks are all regular possibilities. This is in addition to fire, theft, and vandalism.
According to the III, the average property damage claim payout was $13,804 over a recent five-year period. During that time, about one of every 20 insured properties filed a claim annually.
When considering the types of perils that led to claims, annual statistics show:
- About one in 35 homes had a wind or hail damage claim.
- About one in 60 homes had a water damage or freezing claim.
- About one in 385 homes had a fire or lightning damage claim.
- About one in 525 homes had a claim based on theft or vandalism.
All of the perils included in this list are a part of most standard homeowners insurance policies. Yet many property owners had to fight to recover the money they needed to repair their homes and replace damaged items. This is because insurance companies and their employees rarely act with claimants' best interests at heart.
The insurer could undervalue or deny covered claims, use excuses to reduce the payout offer, or take other steps to complicate the claims process. Still, policyholders have a right to recover the compensation due to them.
Discuss Your Options With Our Clearwater Bad Faith Insurance Claims Team
You can talk to a team member from Dolman Law Group about your insurance claim today for free. If your property damage insurance provider does not uphold its obligations, you have rights. Our team helps property owners who cannot get money from their insurers despite having the necessary coverage. We can negotiate a settlement or sue the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact us now by dialing (727) 451-6900. We encourage you to ask our team any questions regarding your circumstances.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900