Storm Damage Claim Lawyer

Property damage from a storm, hurricane, or flood could upend your life completely. If it affected your home or business, you may have lost some of your physical possessions and are probably concerned about losing your livelihood.

An insurance company should cover your losses in accordance with your policy so that you can get on your feet again after storm damage. However, many property owners must fight with their insurers to get the coverage they need.

Luckily, a local storm damage claim lawyer could provide you with valuable assistance. An attorney could review your policy, help you document your losses, and hold your insurance company accountable for the coverage owed to you.

What Are Covered Perils?

The fundamental question when assessing whether a property owner’s insurance policy will cover storm damage is whether a covered peril caused the damage. Policies can be either “open peril,” meaning that they cover all risks that are not specifically excluded, or “named peril,” meaning they cover only risks specified in the policy.

Whether a policy is open peril or named peril, storm damage is typically covered in homeowner’s policies. A property owner can expect insurance reimbursement for damage due to weather conditions including:

  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Weight of snow or ice
  • Freezing
  • Falling objects

Insurance policies also describe their exclusions or the situations they will not cover. For example, property insurance excludes flooding from coverage unless the homeowner buys a policy that offers flood insurance. Similarly, property owners must buy separate coverage for earthquake damage.

Determining the Cause of Damage

Property insurance policies cover storm damage, but sometimes adjusters try to exclude damage related to the storm if the storm did not directly cause it.

Damage from the Cold

New York winters can be harsh. If the cold causes pipes to freeze and burst, an ice dam may force water to seep into a person’s house. Similarly, an ice or windstorm might break a tree limb that falls a property. Although property insurance should cover these forms of weather-related damage, insurance companies might claim the incidents resulted from inadequate structural maintenance or a lack of upkeep.

Water Damage

Violent storms produce high winds that could cause water to enter a property. If water entered through an opening caused by a storm or if the damage was caused by wind-driven rain, a standard insurance policy should cover the damage.

However, property insurance policies do not typically cover damage from flooding unless the owner purchased separate flood insurance. In addition, a standard policy typically will not cover water damage if water entered a property through a pre-existing opening, including a leaky roof or open window. In these cases, an insurance adjuster might claim that a storm did not create the entry point for the water and deny any damage coverage.

Mold Damage

Mold grows when water infiltrates a structure. In favorable conditions, mold can grow quickly, destroying drywall and covering walls and ceilings. Many property insurance policies would exclude coverage for mold unless the infiltration resulted from a sudden event. Adjusters might assert that a storm did not cause mold growth. For example, they could contend mold already existed and that the storm damage just allowed it to flourish more visibly.

A property owner should consult with a skilled local attorney immediately if an adjuster questions whether property damage resulted from a storm.

How An Attorney Could Help

When an insurance company tries to take advantage of a property owner by denying coverage for a valid claim, a legal professional can communicate directly with the insurer. In many cases, the fact that the owner has hired an attorney convinces the insurer to honor their policy and cover the damage.

If the insurance company does not honor the property owner’s policy terms, the owner could sue an agency for a breach of contract or bad faith.

Bring Your Storm Damage Claim Dispute to an Experienced Attorney

When trying to rebuild a home or business after a storm, the last thing you need is an insurance company that tries to escape its responsibilities. Call a local legal professional for help.

A storm damage claim lawyer could demand your insurer honor its obligations or take action against them that could result in your receiving significant monetary damages. Schedule a consultation today.