November 27, 2012 — In the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, tens of thousands of property owners are seeking help for Hurricane Sandy insurance claims. If an insurance company is acting in “bad faith,” legitimate claims may be denied, delayed, or under-compensated.
Most property owners will receive an offer for settlement within a few weeks of filing their insurance claim, but some claims may take several months to settle. Other claims may be completely denied — especially if the homeowner lacks flood insurance.
If your insurance company has denied your claim or offered a settlement that you believe is too low, don’t feel pressure to accept their offer. You may be entitled to thousands of dollars more than your insurance company is willing to pay.
You can ask your insurer to give you a document that shows how they calculated your payment. This is an important step for protecting the integrity of your claim. After you have that document, your insurance company can’t come up with new reasons for under-compensating your claim.
Hurricane Sandy is expected to cost insurance companies $22 billion, and more than 200,000 claims are expected to be filed. It is possible that your insurance company will make a mistake when adjusting your claim, due to the high volume of claims. It is also possible that your insurance company is acting in “bad faith” and they owe you thousands of dollars more than you have been offered.
For example, after Hurricane Katrina, more than 18,500 homeowners in Louisiana filed a lawsuit against an insurance company that delayed adjustment of their claims for more than 30 days. The courts found the insurance company liable for more than $100 million in damages.