Those who have lost their homes, their cars or businesses after Hurricane Sandy may face extended battles with their insurance providers, eerily shadowing the events following Katrina six years ago.
(PRWEB) November 21, 2012
Those who have lost their homes, their cars or businesses after Hurricane Sandy may face extended battles with their insurance carriers, eerily shadowing the events following Katrina six years ago.
Policy language causes a problem for homeowners
While many victims of Hurricane Sandy have not yet filed claims, they are likely to do so in the following weeks—and it’s a good idea that they read their policies carefully. Thousands of Katrina victims were shocked to discover their hurricane insurance would not pay for damages, since flooding—a major after-effect of the storms--was not covered under their policies.
This was an understandable frustration for customers who had dutifully paid their homeowner premiums over the years. Not only were they being told they would not be given the funds to rebuild their homes, they did not have the resources to pursue a case against the insurers.
Katrina victims serve as a cautionary tale to those currently trying to recover their losses on the east coast. If an insurance claim is denied on the grounds of policy language, victims should seek the advice of an experienced hurricane insurance attorney. The legal team at Sacks, Weston, & Petrelli, LLC advises natural disaster victims of their options on a contingency-fee basis, allowing attorneys and clients to work together in hard financial times.
Lost vehicle numbers on the rise
Rising flood waters have not only caused damage to buildings, they have buried cars under several feet of water and sand, leaving the vehicles undriveable as the waters receded. As of this writing, State Farm had received over 8,000 car claims--nearly as many as the major insurer received after Hurricane Irene last year. Insurance company USAA reported nearly 4,000 auto claims so far, but many more are surely on the way as people return to their damaged neighborhoods.
How many vehicle claims are the insurers expecting? After Hurricane Katrina, 325,000 known vehicles were reported as flooded, with the number covered under insurance not nearly as high.
Many victims pursue cases, receive justice
It is important to remember that vigilance is key when fighting against the insurance companies. Many victims are so overwhelmed by their situation that they do not contest the denial, allowing the company to keep their payout. Some are so confused by the policy language that they assume the company’s denial is legitimate. Still others will struggle to prove that the damage should be covered, only to have their calls to their provider go unanswered.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Katrina victims were able to recover compensation from their insurance companies even though their claims were initially denied. On January 23, 2007, State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. settled hundreds of lawsuits in a mass claim in Mississippi. These policyholders, whose homes were destroyed during and after the storm, received $130 Million as a result of unfairly denied claims (Jim Hood v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 251-07-565, 1st Dist., Hinds Co.).
Unfortunately, victims are only likely to get the kind of compensation they deserve if they fight aggressively for their rights. If your business or home was damaged in Hurricane Sandy, the legal team at Sacks, Weston, & Petrelli, LLC can help you do battle with your insurance company. Call toll-free at (866) 410-6060 to set up a free consultation.