An insurance claims attorney can help when you have damage to your home or business. Our insurance claims attorneys can also represent you against health and disability insurance companies when you have been denied coverage, and in connection with other types of insurance claims.
Insurance claims can be necessary with many types of insurance such as life, auto, hazard (Fire and Storm), health/medical, and general liability insurance policies. These insurance policies provide monetary benefits to either their insured or a third party when certain events occur, such as death, injury or illness or damage to property. However, before the insurance company will pay money due under a policy, the person or business seeking the payment usually must present a claim. Having one of our insurance claims lawyers on your side from the beginning can help you avoid serious mistakes in the insurance claims process.
What is an Insurance Claims Attorney?
An insurance claims attorney combines the ability to understand the complex language of an insurance policy with the skill to present a claim to an adjuster, judge and jury. An insurance claims attorney helps clients prepare claim forms, advises them of the coverage available under their policies and counsels clients on whether or not the insurance company is acting in bad faith in dealing with its insureds.
Why Do I Need an Insurance Claims Attorney?
Insurance policies can be difficult to read and understand, and our insurance claims attorneys are here to help you recover what you deserve from your insurance company. We have years of experience representing both insurance companies and individuals in insurance claims, and this unusual background gives us insight into how to obtain results from insurance companies. In addition, there are important deadlines hidden in many insurance policies that can be easily overlooked by a person not trained in insurance claims law. We strongly advise that you consult an insurance claims attorney as soon as you are aware of the need to make an insurance claim.
Hiring an Insurance Claims Attorney
You may feel overwhelmed when facing a stubborn insurance company with your claim. Do not fight the battle alone. Hire an insurance claims attorney to be on your side. Make sure your voice is heard, your claim is aggressively pursued and you receive the compensation you deserve.. Click here to contact an insurance claims attorney in North Carolina.
Tips When Buying Insurance
Most people rely entirely upon their insurance agent to provide them with the coverage they need. However, even the best agent may not be aware of your particular needs and you may not find out there is a problem until too late. Here are some tips to consider when buying insurance:
- Always ask questions if you do not fully understand what you are buying. If you are not clear about your coverage conditions or the amount of your insurance policy limits, speak up and ask your agent.
- When buying life insurance, consult with your attorney to be sure that the policy is consistent with your estate planning needs.
- Be sure you understand when your life insurance premiums may be increased or how coverage may end before you die.
- Purchase adequate liability limits for your auto insurance policy. For example, if you have savings and a home worth $500,000, you risk losing these assets if you only have an insurance policy with $100,000 in assets. We recommend at least $300,000 limits as a starting point.
- Check to be sure that your insurance will cover you while driving a rental car. Many policies will not provide coverage unless your regular automobile is being repaired.
- Uninsured Motorist, Underinsured Motorist and Medical Payments coverage is relatively inexpensive and protects you if you are injured by an uninsured driver or a driver with low insurance limits.
- If you will be towing a camper or trailer, be sure that your policy provides coverage.
- When purchasing homeowners’ insurance or hazard insurance, shop around to see if you can obtain replacement value insurance. It will often avoid litigation over the value of your home and can save you significantly in case of a loss.
- If you have valuable jewelry or collectables, ask your agent if you need a scheduled property endorsement to provide sufficient coverage for these items.
- If you will be conducting a business out of your home or storing business equipment at your home, your homeowners’ policy may not provide coverage for business losses. Ask your agent if you need an endorsement or additional policy.
- Keep an inventory of your home contents with photos or movies and update it regularly. Keep the inventory in a bank safety deposit box or somewhere other than your home.
- When buying health insurance, the best policy is “when in doubt, disclose.” In other words, it is better to err on the side of giving too much information about your health than too little. Use additional pages if necessary. When a claim for cancer or a major medical event is made, some companies scrutinize your application to see if they can find a reason to deny coverage.
- Talk to a lawyer if you want to appeal an adverse decision by your health insurance company. There are deadlines in many policies that can easily be missed.
- Look into an umbrella policy. This kind of insurance provides broad protection in addition to your business or home liability policy and your car insurance. It is usually quite inexpensive and offers greatly increased limits in most cases.
Common Legal Terms Used in Insurance Claims
Declarations or “Dec Page:” The portion of your policy that identifies the persons insured, the property or automobiles insured and a list of the different types of coverage included in the policy.
Coverage: The events, persons or property for which the insurance applies.
Definitions: Definitions are used to define technical terms used throughout the policy. These should be read carefully as the usage of certain words in an insurance policy may not be the same as their everyday use.
Exclusions: This portion of a policy lists certain events, acts, or types of damages for which the insurance company will not provide coverage.
Conditions: An insurance policy will frequently describe some requirements that must take place before the policy goes into effect (payment of the premiums, for example) or actions that must be taken or circumstances that must exist for coverage to be available (having an insurable interest in the insured property or prompt reporting of any loss, for example).
Limits: This term describes the maximum amount that may be paid out by the insurance company. There may be different limits for different coverages under some types of insurance.
Liability Insurance: Insurance that provides you with a defense and pays for any judgment against you in a civil suit (up to the applicable limits).
Hazard Insurance: A term used to describe insurance that provides compensation when property is damaged by fire, wind, lighting, etc.
Stacking: This term is used to describe the situations in which the limits may be increased by combining coverage under multiple policies or multiple coverages.
Proof of Loss: A form that the insurance company may require the insured to complete describing the claim and any damages suffered.
Replacement Value: Some policies of property provide that damaged or destroyed property may be compensated based upon the cost required to replace the item. Replacement value coverage is generally preferred to fair market value coverage.
Fair Market Value: When property is damaged or destroyed, the damages may be based upon the loss in Fair Market Value—the value that the item would have brought at a sale between a willing buyer and seller.
Umbrella Policy: A policy that will provide liability coverage for a broad range of activity. Such policies generally require minimum levels of homeowners and automobile insurance.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If you are injured or your vehicle is damaged by a vehicle that does not have insurance, that vehicle is considered “uninsured” and an auto policy may have coverage that stands in the place of the missing insurance for the uninsured vehicle so that if you recover damages against the driver, there may be insurance to pay the judgment. If the other vehicle has insurance but it is insufficient to compensate you for your damages, underinsured coverage can provide additional coverage in excess of the amount of the liability insurance on the other vehicle.
Medical Payments Coverage: This coverage typically pays for medical expenses of persons injured in an auto accident up to a specified amount regardless of fault.
Subrogation: Some policies contain a provision that allows the insurance company to recover back from any settlement or judgment the amount it pays you under the policy. A policy may also require you to permit the insurance company to bring a suit in your name to recover against an “at fault” party for any amounts paid to you under the policy.
Reservation of Rights: This term is used to describe the situation in which an insurance company may investigate your claim or even provide a defense for you without making a final decision on whether or not you are covered by the insurance policy. You should consult with an attorney if you receive a notice that your insurance company is acting under a reservation of rights.
Examination or Statement Under Oath: This is a sworn statement, similar to a deposition, taken by the insurance company to ask you questions about your claim or a claim involving your insurance policy. You should consult with an attorney if you receive a request for an examination or statement under oath.