June 1st was the official start of hurricane season in Alabama. During an average hurricane season, there are around 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. Some scientists expect an above-average hurricane season, but regardless of how many storms there are this year, there is a high probability that some homeowners will experience damage to their property.
Last year, Hurricane Sally caused widespread storm surges, wind, and flooding across coastal Alabama. Wind and flood damage also extended into the southern and central parts of Alabama. If your home has been damaged in a hurricane, it is important that you understand your rights and your legal options for recovering compensation.
Common Types of Hurricane Damage
Hurricanes can cause a significant amount of damage to Alabama homes. If a hurricane has hit your home, you may have suffered one or more of the following types of damages:
Structural damage: Your home can sustain structural damage that makes your home uninhabitable. When structural damage occurs, you will not eat one or more professionals to evaluate all of the damage and determine what types of repairs are necessary. He will typically need to move into a hotel until the repairs are done, and your home is safe to occupy again.
Downed utilities: Hurricanes can knock out both power and gas lines. Homeowners without gas and power cannot stay in their homes, and we will need to stay in a hotel until repairs are made.
Downed trees: During a hurricane, trees can fall and cause damage to a person’s vehicle, home, or other parts of their property.
Sewage and gas leaks: When a home has water damage inside after a hurricane, there is always a risk of contamination and disease from a sewage or gas leak. Mold and bacteria can grow inside your home, which can take months to notice. Once you have had mold damage, it is challenging and expensive to fix.
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Problems That Can Arise During the Claims Process
As a homeowner with property insurance, you should be able to rely on your insurance company to cover hurricane damage. Unfortunately, insurance companies frequently deny claims, fail to return calls and messages from their insured customers, or fail to schedule an inspection soon after the hurricane damage. Sometimes adjusters will ask for documentation that you have already sent them. They may insist on having multiple inspections or only pay you a small portion of what they should pay you under the terms of the policy.
When insurance companies have multiple claims during hurricane season, they are more likely to underpay claims. They often spend very little time investigating claims. In other cases, the adjuster might simply make a mistake that results in damaged items being omitted and the adjuster undervaluing your claim. Without a hurricane insurance attorney representing your interests, you may not be able to obtain the full amount of compensation your claim is worth. Working with an attorney allows you to hold the insurance company accountable and better navigate the claims process.
Bad Faith Insurance Policies
Under Alabama Law, insurance companies cannot act in bad faith when handling claims. When insurance companies engage in bad faith tactics, victims can bring a claim against them to recover compensation. In addition to recovering compensation for the hurricane damage itself, you may be able to recover additional compensation due to the insurance company’s bad faith actions. You will need to show that you had a contract with your insurance company, they breached the contract, they refused to pay a valid claim, and they had no standing to deny your claim.
Abnormal Bad Faith Claims in Alabama
When an insurance company intentionally fails to investigate a hurricane Insurance claim, you can bring a lawsuit for abnormal bad faith. You will need to prove that the insurance company failed to investigate our claim to avoid deciding whether they have grounds for denying it. For example, if an insurance company denies a hurricane claim without reviewing your coverage or investigating your damage, they may be engaging in abnormal bad faith. An attorney can help you gather evidence showing that they intentionally failed to determine whether there is a legal reason to refuse your claim.
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Contact an Alabama Hurricane Damage Attorney
If you have experienced hurricane damage, you can pursue compensation through your homeowner’s insurance policy. You have the right to expect your claim to be reviewed, taken seriously, and thoroughly investigated. Understanding Alabama hurricane insurance policy language can be confusing. Please do not attempt to decipher it on your own. Contact Heninger Garrison Davis to schedule your free initial consultation.