Storms and weather events are on the rise, with last year alone seeing major weather event damages totaling $95 billion in the US.
Property and homeowners shoulder a large portion of this expense, and insurance coverage is key in helping homeowners repair storm damage.
However, sometimes insurance carriers are slow to pay out after a storm. This can be frustrating, stressful, and infuriating, and trigger detrimental repair delays.
Is your insurance claim taking forever?
If so, you’re probably wondering what the reason is for the slow pay. As well as what steps you can take to speed up your claim and get the compensation you’re justly entitled to.
Keep reading to find out why an insurance company might slow pay after a storm, and what you can do about it.
Their Claims Handling Processes Are Swamped
One of the legitimate reasons why it might take a while to receive your insurance payment after a storm is that the claims process of your insurance company is under extra pressure.
If the weather event has caused wide-scale damage, it might be that your provider is swamped with claims from homeowners.
If so, then your insurance payment will probably take a little longer to process than usual. However, large insurance carriers should have the resources to deal with a surge in claims. Therefore, any delays in claiming from your insurance coverage shouldn’t go on for all that long.
The Insurance Company Is Trying to Get You to Accept a Lowball Offer
A less innocent reason for an insurance company to slow pay after a storm is if they are trying to manipulate policyholders into accepting lowball offers.
Are ongoing, drawn-out, erroneous, and petty delays are stalling your insurance payment? If so, your carrier might be trying to pay out less than you’re entitled to under your policy.
The logic behind this is simple. The longer a claims process goes on, the more desperate homeowners become to receive their insurance payment and get on with repairs.
Although this might sound shocking, it isn’t really all that surprising that certain providers will resort to these means. Ultimately, insurance carriers exist to turn a profit. They aren’t non-profit organizations designed to serve the greater good.
That said, trying to corner policyholders into taking a low offer isn’t ethical. If you have a feeling that your insurance company is deploying this tactic, don’t fall for it.
How Insurance Companies Can Delay Claim Payments After a Storm
Before we get into what to do if your insurer is slow to grant your insurance payment after a storm, here are some of the delaying tactics to look out for.
If your insurer is intentionally delaying your payment, they might:
- Stall adjuster investigations
- Request unnecessary or superfluous documents and records
- Erroneously switch out your representative
- Request information bit by bit
Another very underhanded tactic that an insurance company might employ is sending out an unlicensed adjuster. When making a home insurance claim, it’s always wise to check whether your adjuster’s license is in good standing.
To do this you will need to verify their license status with your state’s insurance board. If you’re located in Louisiana, you can do this by using searching for your assigned adjuster on the Louisiana Department of Insurance website.
The Protocol for Delayed Claims
Another thing to know about is the accepted protocol for delayed claims. Sometimes, claims are delayed for entirely legitimate reasons, and carriers are allowed certain windows of time within which to take actions around your claim.
These can vary by state. However, the general rule of thumb is that once you have filed your claim, the insurance company has up to 30 days for their investigations.
If there is a legitimate reason for them to not complete the investigations within the 30-day period, they must provide you with a reasonable explanation in writing. If the delay goes in, the insurer must provide you with written reasoning for this every 45 days.
If an insurance company fails to adhere to these guidelines, this can be a warning flag that their reason for slow pay after a storm isn’t founded on legitimate grounds.
Tips for Fast-Tracking Your Insurance Claim
Nobody wants their insurance company to slow pay after a storm. Although it isn’t unheard of for carriers to deploy underhanded delay tactics—there are also a few “mistakes” policyholders might make that can inadvertently cause delays.
Here are some of the steps you can take to set the stage for a speedy claims process.
Firstly, make sure you document all areas of storm damage and take as many photographs as possible. This is one of the most important insurance claims tips to implement after a storm.
Also, try to apply for your claim as quickly as possible. If you can’t safely access your property, you might have to wait until this is possible. However, to get the ball rolling you can enquire whether your insurance company carries out initial drone investigations.
Additionally, make sure you are present when the adjuster comes and walk them through all the damages. Lastly, have all your documents at the ready and keep any applicable receipts for things like evacuation or emergency services such as tarping.
What to Do if Your Insurance Payment Has Been Slow-Tracked
Sometimes, no matter how diligent you are with your claim, it still gets slow-tracked.
If the situation is becoming untenable, or you suspect foul play, the best course of action is to seek legal assistance.
An experienced attorney, versed in insurance disputes will be able to interpret your policy fully. They will also be able to negotiate with your insurer far more adeptly than a private individual.
What’s more, hiring a property damage lawyer also shows your insurance company you mean business. If they have been engaging in underhanded slow pay techniques, the presence of a lawyer can motivate them to cease these tactics and prioritize your claim.
Do You Need Help With Your Insurance Claim?
Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for delays with insurance claims. Especially if the claim is large or complex. However, there are also times when an insurance company might needlessly slow pay your insurance payment after a storm.
Do you need help with your insurance claim?
If so, we are the people to call.
Here at Stephen Babcock Lawyers, we have many years of experience in dealing and negotiating with insurance companies. Contact us today for a free consultation and start fast-tracking your insurance claim.