Hurricane season brought an immense amount of damage to the Houston area this year, and that means insurance companies have been hit with an onslaught of claims for the damage they sustained to their homes cars, and other important possessions. However when these catastrophes make landfall, too many people find that their company is nowhere to be found when they need them most, leading to a huge spike in insurance bad faith claims and lawsuits being taken to civil court.
WHY THE SUDDEN SPIKE?
However, natural disasters lead to a huge number of claims made in a short period of time—far more than insurance companies normally have to handle. That means these companies will need to pay out far more than normal, which makes a huge cut into profits. In order to try to maintain this profit share, companies often try to pay as little as possible while still satisfying the claim. Unfortunately, this conduct usually includes underpaying claims, making policyholders jump through countless, tedious hoops just to receive this meager payout, and unnecessarily delaying claims for as long as possible.
Each of these tactics is designed to try and reduce the expenses an insurance company incurs in one of these events, and that means you as the policy holder will ultimately be the one to foot the bill. Not only will the claim payout you receive likely not be enough to fully recover your losses from this year’s devastating hurricane season, but you’ll also probably pay increased premiums in the future because you have this major claim on your record.
PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS
What can you do as a policy holder to make sure your insurance company handles your claim properly and to the terms that you agreed to when you purchased your policy? The first thing everyone should do is respond quickly to your insurance company when they request information and follow up with them regularly to make sure your claim is being attended to. It’s perfectly normal for delays to occur during high-volume events, such as in the aftermath of hurricanes, but unnecessary delays could be detrimental and cost you thousands in added expenses (that they’ll try to have you foot the bill for).
If you suspect your claim has been mishandled, it’s strongly advised you discuss your case with a Houston business litigation attorney. Having an advocate on your side can help you identify signs that your claim is being handled in bad faith and advise you on steps you can take, plus represent you if you need to file a civil lawsuit in order to hold them accountable.