The Insurance Process Can be Complex and FrustratingEveryone affected by Hurricane Michael has a unique story to tell. We want to help make sure yours has a happy ending. It can be hard to know how to handle insurance companies so that you can get an amount that covers the damages. Take a deep breath and focus on the first step.
The First Step of the ProcessA natural disaster can be overwhelming. It can be hard to know what to do first. But the first step is to determine whether your property or business insurance covers damage from natural disasters. The language of your policy should tell you which risks the policy does or does not cover. Policy language can be confusing, so do not hesitate to consult with an attorney about your coverage. Our insurance lawyers can review the policy and explain your coverage to you in layman's terms. We can also identify whether any complications are foreseeable when it comes to filing or processing a claim.
In Times of Natural DisasterAfter a natural disaster, you expect your insurance company to be there for you. After all, you pay premiums every month for protection in times like this. Your insurance should cover many losses, including carpeting, painting, mold damage, your roof, the structure of your house, walls and insulation, and personal property. You may also seek payment for the loss of food due to power outages and expenses if you cannot live in your home following a disaster. If you have a business, your disaster insurance should cover your lost inventory, equipment, and more. If you own the commercial property, that policy should cover damage to the building. If you lease the property, the property owner's policy should cover any structural damage.
Insurance Companies Have Many Tactics They Use to Limit PayoutsInsurance companies might not give you the payout you need, especially when they are facing numerous claims from a single disaster. Just like any business, insurance companies want to increase profits whenever possible. They do so, in part, by limiting payouts to policyholders. Their tactics can result in unreasonable denials, delays, or disputes with policyholders who are already struggling. Some of these tactics can include:
- Requiring you to pay multiple deductibles – For example, if you have one policy for flood damage and one for wind damage, the company may try to require you to pay a deductible on each one. You should only have to pay one deductible, however, for damage arising from the same disaster.
- Threatening to cancel your policy – Some insurers may try to convince you that if you make a claim, they will cancel your policy. However, your disaster policy should not be canceled because you were clearly not at fault for causing the hurricane.
- Limiting the value of your losses – Insurance appraisers may come up with a substantially lower total for your losses than you did. They will minimize each loss and try to exclude certain items from your covering.
How Our Insurance Attorneys Can HelpAn insurance adjuster wants you to accept the lowest offer possible. For this reason, they often try to convince you that you do not need the help of an insurance lawyer for your Hurricane Michael claim. They may tell you that they are on your side, that they have your best interest in mind, and that you can trust them. Always remember that an adjuster's priority is their employer, the insurance company. The first settlement offer from an adjuster will usually be embarrassingly low. Too many people accept low ball settlements for many reasons:
- They do not realize they have the option to reject the offer and negotiate
- The adjuster convinces them that their covered losses are much less than they thought
- Due to delays, they simply want to get the process over with and believe that any amount is better than nothing
Why Should You Be Cautious About the First Offer That Comes Your Way?If you accept this offer, you cannot ask for more once you realize how inadequate the settlement is in regard to your losses. Accepting the offer ends the claim, and you lose your right to seek any additional payments stemming from the disaster. To ensure you receive the full amount you deserve, you should never accept any insurance offer before having a knowledgeable insurance company review it.
Why Getting the Right Legal Help Makes All the DifferenceAt Dolman Law Group, our lawyers know all too well the tricks of the insurance trade. We know that when adjusters tell you that you do not need a lawyer, it is because unrepresented parties often accept much less than parties with representation. Our lawyers can assist you in numerous ways to ensure the best possible outcome of your claim, including:
- Properly assess the value of the damage you experienced
- Prepare and file your claim
- Communicate with your insurance adjuster on your behalf
- Review any settlement offers and advise you whether they are inadequate
- Negotiate the maximum value of your claim
- Identify when your insurance company is acting in bad faith and take the necessary legal action
Can I Afford to Consult a Hurricane Michael Attorney?You are likely concerned about a lot of costs right now. If you are working on home repairs, the last thing you want to worry about is legal fees. Our contingency fee structure lets you get all the legal advice you need before moving forward. Unless we help you recover compensation, we do not get paid either. We only take a percentage of the amount you get in compensation.
We Can Help You With Your Hurricane Michael Claim Like We've Done for OthersDolman Law Group is proud to serve clients all over the country. For our clients in Florida, we understand that the threat of hurricanes is always present and that Hurricane Michael caused substantial damage. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Here is what just a few of our clients have had to say after working with us: “Attorney Dolman exhibits all of the qualities any client expects from a lawyer. I value his services enough to refer him to friends. He is professional, courteous, prompt and very understanding of needs. I would recommend him to anyone that is interested in obtaining favorable results regarding your legal issues.” “Very Good Experience. I was with another attorney who did not return my phone calls, messages, or help me with any questions and had no advice as far as who to go to for the medical attention I needed. I found Matt and got everything I needed, my questions answered, and he was very fast, professional & helpful.” ~ Arianna. “Always quick to respond to calls and emails. Matt Dolman did all that was promised and then some in a very aggressive manner.”
Protecting the Rights of Floridians Affected by Hurricane MichaelBoth the wind and the storm surge caused catastrophic damage to homes, businesses, and farms in Florida. While Panama City and Mexico Beach probably suffered the worst, the damage was widespread and affected many people throughout Jackson and Calhoun Counties. The hurricane flattened buildings and knocked down trees, and two weeks after the storm, many people still had no electricity, internet, cell service, or even a roof over their heads. So far, 45 U.S. deaths have occurred due to Hurricane Michael and its aftermath, including 35 in Florida. If you suffered serious losses due to Hurricane Michael, you might believe you can file an insurance claim and receive payment for the damage. However, with so many people filing claims all at the same time, you may experience extreme delays and even a denial of part of your claim.
Damage to Your Home, Vehicles, and Personal Property?Hurricane Michael completely flattened the homes of millions of people. Many of the homes in the affected areas that remain standing suffered severe damage to the roof and exterior, as well as extensive flood damage. Whatever the value of your house, losing your home or suffering severe damage to your home can be overwhelmingly costly. Because you want a roof over your head and a place to call your own, repairing or rebuilding your home is a top priority. In addition, many people left vehicles behind that became ruined due to the flooding. Cars, boats, and other recreational vehicles may need to be replaced completely. Vehicles are essential to get around, especially since public transportation is limited in the destroyed areas. Repairs and replacements are expensive, however, especially if people still have loan balances on the damaged vehicles.
Your PossessionsWith homes also comes everything inside the home. As the years pass, people can amass a substantial amount of possessions, including:
- Exercise equipment
- Gaming systems
- Cookware and utensils
- Work and hobby supplies