Oklahoma City Residential Insurance Dispute Attorneys
Assisting homeowners throughout Oklahoma
Homeowners’ insurance protects and insures your home’s structure and belongings in the case of a destructive event, like a fire or burglary. A home is typically your most important investment, so it’s crucial you protect it to ensure it holds its value over the years.
Unfortunately, even when we do the right thing and protect our investment with homeowners’ insurance, when disaster strikes, we often find out the insurance company isn’t exactly our friend. We may expect and rely upon our residential policy to take care of things in the case of a loss, but insurance companies often employ strategies designed to avoid paying out claims.
The Oklahoma City insurance dispute attorneys at Cunningham & Mears can help if your insurance agency is denying your claim. We can evaluate your case and discuss what benefits you’re entitled to under your policy, and protect your right to compensation.
Residential insurance bad faith
When we talk about “bad faith” in reference to insurance, it means the failure of an insurance company to provide coverage – or pay out – for a legitimate claim filed by an active and insured policyholder. This can happen at any point in the claim review/payment process and take many different forms, which we’ll discuss later. And, with the assistance of a skilled attorney, insured homeowners can bring a lawsuit against an insurance company that acts in bad faith against the terms of their policy.
Typical residential insurance policies
Every homeowners’ policy is unique, but generally they’ll protect the policyholder against a variety of damages, including:
- Fire and smoke damage
- Falling trees
- Burst pipes
- Wind damage
- Hail damage
- Damage from the weight of snow or ice
- Falling objects
- Theft of possessions or property
- Personal liability lawsuits
- Premises liability lawsuits
- Riots/civil commotion
Some residential insurance policies cover things like flood, hurricane, tornado, or earthquake damage. However, not every policy does. It’s important you read your policy carefully – including the fine print – before choosing a plan so you’re sure of what’s covered and what’s not. For example, Oklahoma can be prone to flooding and tornado activity, so it might be worth considering purchasing separate insurance to cover your home in the event of a natural disaster.
When can insurance companies deny Oklahoma City claims?
There are times when an insurance company can legally deny claims by a policyholder. These include:
- If the policyholder doesn’t adhere to the stipulations of the policy or contract
- If the claim is fraudulent
- If the claim is for something outside of coverage of the insured’s policy
Outside of these or other legitimate reasons, an insurance company is obligated to honor the policies it sells to its customers. Unfortunately, too many homeowners discover when they attempt to make a claim on their policies, the insurance companies aren’t that eager to pay or cooperate.
It’s actually in the insurance company’s better financial interests to question your claim, offer way less than it’s worth, or deny it altogether. Common tactics used against confused or frustrated homeowners include using ambiguous language in policies, requiring policyholders to jump through an unreasonable number of hoops to receive payment, or denying legitimate claims for no valid reason.
Examples of homeowners’ insurance bad faith
Any number of wrongful actions by your insurance company can constitute bad faith. Here are just a few:
- Refusing to investigate a claim
- Denying coverage on a legitimate claim
- Denying payment on a covered claim
- Unnecessarily delaying or postponing a claim investigation
- Unnecessarily delaying or postponing a payment on a claim
- Misrepresenting the meaning of a contract’s language
What to do when an insurance company is denying your claim
If the unexpected occurs and you believe your insurance company isn’t acting in your best interest, consider taking some proactive measures – immediately. When an insurance company starts doing things like low-balling, delaying, or denying your residential insurance claim, act quickly and carefully.
As soon as you suspect your insurance company may be up top no good, start documenting all of your interactions. Keep track of who you speak to, when you speak to them, and track every expense related to your home and property damage. Ensure you:
- Take detailed notes of phone conversations, and consider following up with emails to ensure that all communication is documented.
- Photograph everything – damage to the house, your property (including any standing buildings like sheds, and any landscaping you might have) as well as repairs in progress (before, during, after).
- Cut all communication with the insurance representative after hiring an attorney. After you begin a lawsuit, anything you say to the insurance company could jeopardize your case. Your legal team will act as your representative and protect your best interests.
How an Oklahoma insurance dispute attorney can help
Fighting insurance claims can be complex, and for many homeowners, working out coverage issues and negotiating the value and details of a claim may be outside their normal area of expertise. Attorneys are studied and knowledgeable in the legal aspects of homeowners’ insurance, and they can work and negotiate with the insurance company, so you won’t have to.
If our lawyers can’t reach an appropriate and fair settlement with your insurance company, we’re not afraid to file a lawsuit in Oklahoma court. Many times, just the threat of legal action will be enough to get your insurance company to settle for the amount they owe you. However, if necessary, we will fight in court to secure you the money you deserve to rebuild your home and move forward with your life.
Help from experienced Oklahoma City insurance dispute attorneys
When your house has suffered damage or theft, you expect your homeowners’ policy to take care of it. But if your claim is denied, you may not know what step to take next. An insurance dispute lawyer from Cunningham & Mears can help hold insurance companies accountable. For a free consultation at our Oklahoma City offices, call 405-232-1212 or fill out our contact form today.