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The damage caused by a hurricane can be devastating. Most recently, North Carolina found this to be true when Hurricane Florence ripped through the state after making landfall on September 14, 2018. While the storm eventually passed, the damage left behind was enormous. Widespread flooding was a major problem for much of the state, and tens of thousands of people were left without homes. As cleanup continues, there are many questions about post-hurricane insurance – what will be covered so people can start to rebuild their lives? Can anyone help with the claims process?
Who and What Is Covered After a Hurricane
Just like car insurance, the amount of coverage available through your homeowners insurance after a hurricane will depend on the type of policy you had. Those with standard policies will likely be covered for basic losses. Those who purchased larger policies may be covered for additional losses.
While damage from wind and rain will likely be covered, any damage from flooding most likely will not, unless you purchased additional flood insurance beforehand. If the wind blew a tree trunk through your window, that would be covered under a basic homeowners policy. But if flooding after the hurricane damaged your basement, you may not be covered.
North Carolina Insurance Law
North Carolina insurance law is covered under the North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 58. These statutes outline the requirements for handling claims, and the rights of policyholders after a claim is made. When a claim needs to be made, the policyholder should let the insurance company know in writing or email. The adjusters and company should reply promptly to the claim and investigate it as soon as possible.
That investigation should include an inspection of the damaged property, and if it doesn’t, policyholders should document this in writing. If it does, document how long the adjuster spent inspecting, and what was done and not done during that inspection. If the company decides that a claim is valid, the payment should be given to the policyholder in a timely manner. Document your wait times, and keep track of the status of your claim with the insurance company, following up on when the payment will be made.
If the insurance company decides to deny a claim, they must inform the policyholder in writing, providing the reason why the claim was denied. When there is no reason included, or the reason is invalid, a Wilmington hurricane lawyer at Rhine Law Firm, P.C., can hold the insurance company responsible and negotiate with them on the policyholder’s behalf. We hope this can make things easier for those who have just survived a natural disaster such as a hurricane.
It’s important for homeowners to report any damage from a hurricane to their insurance company right away. The company will be busy after a natural disaster, so patience may be needed. Still, getting your claim in right away will ensure that the insurance company starts working on it as soon as possible.
In addition, it may help to speak to a local attorney. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always look out for the best interests of their policyholders. They are in the business of making money, and paying out on claims in the wake of a disaster, particularly large claims, does not increase their bottom line.
Having a lawyer on your side will ensure that you are treated fairly and paid for valid claims. We can also speak to the insurance company on your behalf. This can protect you, as attorneys are familiar with insurance companies and will not fall for their tactics, such as “delay, deny, and defend.”
“Joel Rhine and his staff did everything possible to help us in a very dark period of our lives.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better firm to handle my injury claim. If you do not have confidence with your attorney, you need to contact Rhine Law Firm immediately.”
“Rhine Law Firm went out of their way to make sure that my mother-in-law obtains everything she is entitled to in an injury case.”
“It was a long, arduous process and we cannot thank Joel and the rest of the team at Rhine Law Firm enough.”
“Joel will make sure you are well taken care of. He will fight for you and what you deserve and go to all measures to make sure you get it.”
Speaking to a lawyer is one of the best ways you can get back on your feet after a natural disaster. Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has extensive building and construction experience, and knows how to negotiate successfully with insurance companies. Call our Wilmington natural disaster attorneys at (910) 772-9960. We will walk you through the rebuilding process, and represent you so you are treated honestly and given full compensation.
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