When to Hire a Home Insurance Lawyer to File a Lawsuit
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UPDATED: Aug 13, 2020
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There are times when a homeowner and the insurance company may come to an impasse over a home insurance settlement. It could be related to claim denial, a low home insurance settlement amount, or a disagreement on what the policy covers. If you find yourself in predicament and unable to reach a home insurance settlement amicably, hiring a home insurance lawyer that knows property insurance law may be your best option.
File a Home Insurance Lawsuit Before You Settle the Claim
Generally speaking, you cannot file a lawsuit after settling a claim. As part of your home insurance claim settlement process, your insurer will most likely have you sign a home insurance settlement agreement that precludes you from suing them on that occurrencelater and releases them from making any further payments on that claim. Note that this bar on filing a lawsuit does not apply to future claims that are completely separate from the present, settled claim.
There are times that you might be able to bring legal action against your insurer after settlement, but those are mainly limited to errors or different interpretations of the settlement language or process itself. It is also possible that the settlement document was poorly written and doesn’t limit your legal options – but that is highly unlikely. Language contained in the settlement may also limit your legal options to arbitration. It is wise to have an attorney review any settlement documents and over what options are available to you.
Filing a Home Insurance Lawsuit
If you are in the middle of a home insurance claim and have not reached any type of settlement discussion, then you still have the possibility of legal action. Perhaps your insurance company has just denied coverage altogether, advising you that they will not pay for any damages under your home insurance policy. Perhaps you and the insurance adjusterare so far apart on what you feel the home insurance settlement should be that it is impossible to imagine an agreement coming any time soon. There could even be a situation where you have reached your limits on your home insurance coverage, however, you find that a rider was available through your insurance company that would have given you extended coverage, but it was not offered by your agent. These examples all have a common thread: if you feel like your insurance company is not treating you and your claim fairly, then you may have cause to file a lawsuit.
Hiring a Home Insurance Attorney
Regardless of the specific cause of your problems, one thing is clear: coverage issues and negotiating a claim’s value is usually beyond the average homeowner’s expertise. This is where an attorney that is an expert in property insurance law can help. Coverage issues can be intricate.
The smallest part of your claim can cause the entire claim to be excluded from coverage. Contact an attorney if you do not understand why your claim was not covered or the value of the claim is not what you think it should be. Make sure that during the process of your home insurance claim you do the following:
- Keep good notes- note who you talked with and the time. Summarize your conversation in the notes.
- Keep good picture documentation-Take pictures of the damage and any repairs in progress. Any type of documentation could help your attorney with his case when he goes to file the lawsuit.
- Cut communications after hiring an attorney-Make sure once you have engaged the services of an attorney that you cut all communications with any insurance company representative. You would not want to say or do anything that will jeopardize your lawsuit.
Your attorney will file the lawsuit based on the homeowner’s insurance laws in your state. Filing a lawsuit sometimes may put pressure on your home insurance carrier to agree to a home insurance settlement. If your home insurance carrier sees that you are serious about your claim, are represented by an attorney, and have a good case against them, then they may be more inclined to work towards a fair settlement.
If you find yourself in a dispute over a home insurance settlement, consider consulting with a home insurance lawyer that knows the property insurance law for your state. Consultations are free, and hiring a lawyer can help you get treated fairly by your insurance company. Click here to find an experienced attorney in your area.