Insurance coverage is supposed to provide the policyholder with a feeling of safety and security. People buy insurance for protection against risk that could otherwise be financially devastating. And we expect that the insurance company will hold up its end of the bargain when catastrophe happens and a claim must be made.
When travesty strikes and a claim is made on an insurance policy, we want to trust that the insurance company and the people it hires to handle our claim will treat us fairly. Unfortunately, all too often that insurance contract can seem like a one-way street when it comes time to make a claim. Imagine the following scenarios:
- soon after the unthinkable happens, a homeowner is told by an adjuster that their policy won’t cover water damage from a devastating hurricane, or it won’t pay for the same quality of roof that was blown away by a tornado;
- a neighbor’s child is injured in an accident on a policyholder’s property, and not long after the insurance company is put on notice of the incident, a letter arrives in the mail stating that no legal defense will be provided due to an alleged code violation;
- a married couple, in the interest of providing income replacement and some degree of financial help in case of the death of a spouse, purchase a life insurance policy. The insured spouse later passes away, a claim is made for the benefits owed under the policy, but the insurance company refuses to pay due to a technicality in a medical report.
Delayed payments or denied claims by insurance companies can lead not only to frustration and anger, but feelings of helplessness. Thankfully, Texas law provides remedies for policyholders to make sure their insurance companies do the right thing, and do it timely when a claim is made. At The Callahan Law Firm, Houston’s premier insurance claim disputes attorneys, we represent policyholders in claims against their insurance companies.
The following are some basic tips to keep in mind when dealing with an insurance claim:
Review Your Policy: Insurance policies are challenging to read. The concepts and wording used can be confusing. Nonetheless, it is important to read the policy and understand what it says. Sitting down with your agent or a knowledgeable attorney to discuss the policy and have your questions answered can be a good place to start. Understanding up front whether a claim is covered under the policy based on what the policy says is critical.
Keep Track of All Paperwork: It’s a good idea to keep any paperwork related to your policy as well as the incident giving rise to the claim, including estimates, appraisals, photographs, police reports, doctor’s receipts, etc. Insurance companies like to be provided with items such as these to substantiate a claim, and doing so can often expedite the claims process and hopefully payment of the claim.
Document All Contact with the Insurance Company: It can be helpful to record dates and times of phone calls and other communication with an insurance company and its representative, including full names, phone numbers, phone extensions and results of the phone calls. It is also important to save emails and paper mail from the insurance company. Some people might even keep a small journal documenting the claims process.
Keep Calm: Disputes over insurance claims can be time consuming, frustrating and stressful. Handling an insurance claim on one’s own will frequently require a lot time and patience. Sometimes, however, that is not enough and you may decide you need help. Understand you are not alone, and policyholders across the country frequently require legal assistance to help with insurance claims.
If your insurance claim has been unreasonably delayed or wrongfully denied, contact The Callahan Law Firm to speak with an experienced insurance claims attorney. To learn more about claim disputes, Contact Us today and begin the process of fighting for your rights.