Oklahoma City Insurance Dispute Lawyers
Representing policyholders throughout Oklahoma
We purchase insurance – for our homes, our vehicles, our health, even our lives – as a way of protecting ourselves in the event of loss or crisis. Most people hope they’ll never need to use it, but they pay their monthly premiums and keep up with the paperwork, just in case. In the event of a loss, you have every right to expect that your insurance agency will pay out your claim fairly and quickly. If it doesn’t, however, working with an experienced Oklahoma City insurance dispute attorney can help move that process along.
As Cunningham & Mears, we know how hard you work for what you have. When an insurance company refuses to honor its obligations, we can help. Whether it is a lowball offer on a fire loss, a refusal to pay for covered services, or an act of gross misconduct on behalf of your agent, we are there to help Oklahoma policyholders recoup their losses – and any additional compensation they may be entitled to receive.
Insurance policy basics: all-risk vs. named perils
Depending on the type of policy you have, you might not actually be covered for all adverse events. Let’s take your homeowners’ insurance as an example:
- If you have a named perils policy, then you are only covered for perils listed in your policy, and nothing more. If you do not have earthquakes listed in your policy, and your home sustains damage in an earthquake, then you cannot be paid out on a claim.
- If you have an all-risk policy, you are covered for all events except anything that is specifically named as being excluded. Earthquakes are commonly excluded from all-risk policies.
Why does this matter? Because homeowners’ insurance is expensive, so many people choose the less expensive insurance option – the named perils policy.
However, your agent has a responsibility to you, to ensure that you understand what your policy covers, and what it does not. If you were not told that earthquakes aren’t covered under your policy, nor offered an opportunity to buy additional coverage, this could be construed as agent negligence – a form of bad faith. If you were told that your policy does cover earthquakes when it does not, then your agent has acted fraudulently – another form of bad faith.
These parameters apply to both residential and commercial policies as well, though commercial policies can be a bit more complex. It is worth speaking to an attorney before you sign a policy.
Common homeowner claims in Oklahoma
Here in the Midwest, we face different types of weather events than other parts of the country. No one in Oklahoma is going to buy typhoon insurance – but some of the most common claims policyholders have include:
- Hail damage
- Wind damage
- Tornado damage
- Interior water damage
- Fire damage (including ash, smoke and other particulates)
- Sewer and sump-pump backup damage
Damage to the roof is one of the most common claims, but if a storm is strong enough to crack your foundation or break your windows, you can make a claim for that, too.
You can also file a claim for damage done to other property. For example, if a tree comes down and crushes your car or a detached garage, that could be covered under your homeowners’ policy as well. If you live in a condo or a multi-family home, you may face additional challenges depending on what is covered under your own policy, and what is covered under the owner’s policy. Contact us to discuss your options.
Common claims for auto insurance
The bulk of auto insurance claims are related to accidents between two or more vehicles, or for accidents caused by uninsured/underinsured drivers, but they are not the only ones. For example, if you park your car in a lot while you shop, and come out to find a cracked windshield or a missing side mirror, you can make a claim for that.
You can also make a claim for vandalism or theft, or if your car is damaged by a force of nature. Oklahoma gets a decent amount of hail. If your car is damaged in a storm, you can put a claim through your auto insurance. If it’s damaged while in your driveway, you can make a claim through either your auto insurance or your homeowners’ insurance.
Additional insurance dispute services for individuals and commercial property owners
The majority of the claims we handle for Oklahoma policyholders involve home and auto coverage, but our attorneys also handle disputes arising from:
- Health insurance claims
- Life insurance claims
- Credit insurance claims
- Liability insurance claims
Our attorneys also represent commercial property owners throughout Oklahoma. The firm handles claims on behalf of businesses, non-profit organizations, and religious institutions involving:
- Business interruption
- Property damage
- Liability insurance
- Disability insurance
- Damage to condominiums
- Damage to warehouses
- Damage to industrial parks
Can you sue your insurance agency for denying your claim?
Yes, you can. At its heart, an insurance dispute is a contractual dispute: the contract says you are entitled to “X” if you follow the rules, and your insurer is responsible for “X” when you make a claim. If your insurer fails to abide by the contract, then you have a legitimate claim for compensation.
Dealing with your insurer if your claim has been denied
If your insurance company denied your claim, or offered to settle your claim for less than it is worth, there are a few things you can do to help bolster your case. First, make sure you have all of your documentation in one place: your policy, any emails or letters from your agent, any estimates provided by an adjuster, etc. You can – and should – request a formal letter from your agent that explains in full why your claim was denied.
Then, seek legal counsel. Our insurance dispute attorneys will review the documentation (plus any photos of the damaged property), and see if you have a case for bad faith. If your insurance company has been less-than-forthcoming with you, having an attorney send official requests can sometimes speed the process along, as well.
Insurance dispute litigation
As trained professionals with extensive experience and corporate finances to back them, insurance adjusters have an unfair advantage over most accident victims. Our attorneys help level the playing field. We have the experience and knowledge of the law to recognize the real value of your case. And we understand what motivates insurance companies. Because of this, insurers are often more likely to negotiate a fair settlement with an attorney than an unrepresented insured.
Although most cases can be resolved through tough negotiations, we never hesitate to pursue litigation to protect your rights to benefits. Our attorneys believe in early, aggressive preparation to maximize the likelihood of a successful result. We gather and preserve evidence and witness testimony at the outset to prepare a powerful case. Early preparation allows us to present a strong argument at the negotiation stage and in trial to force the insurer to adhere to its policy and Oklahoma insurance law.
Insurance companies that provide coverage in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma residents have a wide array of insurance companies that are nationally known, and some which are local businesses founded in OK and serving Oklahomans. Here are just a few of them:
- Oklahoma Famers Union
- State Farm
- OK Farm Bureau
- Liberty Mutual
Your insurance company might be treating you in an unfair way because they believe that they can get away with it. They are relying on your not understanding the rules, and not knowing that you can get an experienced Oklahoma insurance dispute lawyer to represent you and be a strong advocate for your interests without paying attorney fees up front. We pursue your case on a contingency fee basis, so you do not pay attorney fees until we have recovered compensation for you.
Handling insurance disputes for Oklahoma clients
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City insurance dispute lawyers can help you recover compensation for the financial losses you may have suffered because of the bad faith actions, any damage your reputation has suffered, pain and suffering for your mental anguish and worry about financial ruin and punitive damages where appropriate. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation, please call 405-232-1212, or fill out our contact form.