Can I sue my insurance company for misrepresenting conditions of my policy

UPDATED: May 10, 2009

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Can I sue my insurance company for misrepresenting conditions of my policy

We recently had two sump pumps in our basement go out (they were on the same circuit). Water flodded the basement floor causing in excess of 10,000 in damages. We bought the “premium” home owners insurance and now they are telling us that all we can colledt is 5,000. We have gone the extra mile by installing two sump pumps but the idiotic electricain put them on the same circuit breaker so one tripped rendering both useless. I feel that consumers are getting a raw deal because businesses expect us to be insurance, legal, contract specialists. I pay these people to help me yet they don’t. Help?

Asked on May 10, 2009 under Insurance Law, Ohio


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

You seem to be asking two entirely different questions, and I'll give you some information about both of them.

First, the insurance claim. I don't know why the insurance company is only willing to pay $5,000, and there are two proper reasons why they could say that.  One is that your proof of loss did not document anything more than that, in their opinion.  They might be unwilling to accept your values on the property damaged.  Or, the policy language might limit your claim or reduce it.  Either way, the insurance company has to tell you, in writing, why they have made their decision that way.  You can dispute this, and often having an attorney represent you will help persuade them to reconsider.  One place you can look for a lawyer is our website,

Second, the electrician's mistake, if that is in fact what it was.  It certainly sounds like it might have been, but I'm not an electrician, and it would take another electrician or someone like an architect or general contractor to say so, for a court to rely on if you wanted to sue him.  You could also check with your local government's construction official, to see if this complied with the applicable building code.  If it was a mistake, or not up to code, you should talk to a lawyer, because you might be able to recover from the electrician.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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