Most Oregon homeowners sleep easy at night knowing that their most important asset, their house, is well-protected by their insurance and they will be compensated for any damages. The forecast predicts high winds over the next few days? No problem, even if the roof gets blown away, the insurance company will cover your repair bills. That’s how things are supposed to work, but when you file a claim you will discover that your insurer is looking for pretexts to deny you claim or to minimize the value of your damages. In such a case, better not waste any time. Talk to a smart homeowners insurance claim denial lawyer in Oregon and let them conduct the negotiations with your insurer.
What to do when your house is damaged by an insured peril
Notify the company
First things first. Your policy probably includes a requirement that you notify the company of the unfortunate event within 24 hours. Make sure to call them or send an email as soon as possible as failure to notify the insurer in due time can be used as a reason to deny your claim.
Document the damages
You should take pictures or videos of the damages caused by wind, a storm or a fire. If your neighbors or other eyewitnesses took photos or videos of the event, these could also be used as evidence to support your claim.
Be careful what you say
When you talk to your insurance agent, limit the conversation to the bare facts. Whatever you say can and will be used against you when it comes to settling your claim. If your house was flooded or gutted by fire, you’ll probably be in a state of shock and you might say things you don’t actually mean. Bear in mind that any innocent comment you make may be used as a reason to deny your claim.
For instance, if your roof was torn by wind you should never say that you were just thinking about replacing the shingles. The insurance company will have reason to claim you failed in your duty to undertake necessary repairs to the property. The wind wouldn’t have caused such damages had the roof been fixed, so you are not entitled to any damages. It’s all your fault.
Get a lawyer
If your house has sustained significant damages, expect problems with the insurance company. Talk to a knowledgeable home insurance claim denial lawyer in Portland and let them assist with filing the documents required by your insurer. Any error can be used as a pretext to deny your claim.
Also, a lawyer with plenty of expertise in this field can put you in touch with an independent insurance adjuster. Insurance companies use their own adjusters to evaluate the damages and their estimate may be significantly lower than the true extent of the damages.
Don’t negotiate with the insurer alone
As a rule, never accept the first offer the insurer makes. They may be trying to lowball you knowing you’re hard-pressed for money and you might be tempted to accept whatever sum they put on the table. A seasoned lawyer is better qualified to negotiate with the insurance company as they can counter whatever arguments they use to devalue your homeowners insurance claim.
Should your claim be wrongfully denied, your lawyer can help you file an appeal with the insurer or take them to court for breach of contract.