What to do regarding an insurance claim if I own a rental property that I was repairing and getting ready to list for sale when it was broken into and damaged?

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What to do regarding an insurance claim if I own a rental property that I was repairing and getting ready to list for sale when it was broken into and damaged?

The person that broke in pulled the refrigerator out and damaged it by cutting wires and tubes and now it will not run. They also stole lawn mower, a few tools, a ladder. I have insurance for dwelling with replacement cost rider and I have personal property rider that I was paying for to cover the items I supplied, such as lawn mower, a few tools and washer, dryer, stove and refrigerator. The original cost of items damage or stolen amounts to around $3000. The rider says that I have coverage up to $5940 but the adjuster only wants to pay me $700 total for items. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on June 30, 2014 under Insurance Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you feel the insurer is not offering you the current fair-market value (NOT replacement value, unless you actually had a "replacement cost" policy, which is rare), you could sue for breach of contract to try to get more; you'd have to show in court that the then-current fair market value was higher than you were offered. However, it may be that their offer was fair, since typically, an insurer does not need to pay the original cost or replacement cost, but only what the items were worth at the time they were stolen, and, for exampel, an older or used refrigerator and mower are not worth anything like what they cost new.


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