September 26, 2020

Finding the Right Insurance Lawyer for Natural Disaster Damage Claims

Special to California Business Journal. 

In 2019 alone, more than 91 million people worldwidewere directly affected by a natural disaster. The term “directly affected” doesn’t mean the people in an area when a storm or other natural event struck. Instead, it refers to those who needed assistance directing following an event.

Besides the loss of life, damage to homes and property are one of the most significant issues with natural events. Even scarier is that more than 20 percent of all Americans don’t have an emergency fund to recover after such an event.

Little to no savings for most Americans means ensuring homeowner’s insurance claims are paid is critical for moving forward. If your insurance claim was stalled or denied, you need to find an insurance lawyer. Continue reading to find out how.

What’s the Definition of “Natural Disaster” in Terms of Homeowner’s Insurance?

You’ll sometimes hear natural disasters defined as “acts of God” in insurance policies. A natural disaster would be considered any damage done to your home or property caused by severe weather or natural events.

The most common types of natural disasters are:

  • Severe thunderstorms
  • Earthquakes
  • Lightning strikes (sometimes including fires caused by lightning)
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Floods

You can sometimes find lawyers who specialize in specific types of natural disasters. For example, if your home was damaged due to a fire from lightning, you may want to find fire insurance claim lawyers.

What Types of Losses Are Covered?

Not all damage done by significant weather events is covered by insurance claims. What is covered will depend on your exact policy. Still, certain types of natural disaster damages are generally covered.

These include:

  • Damage to walls or insulation
  • Certain electrical repairs
  • Damage to carpets (generally from flooding)
  • Mold remediation
  • Damage to roofs or home structures

If the damages to your home were extensive enough you had to leave, you might be able to claim hotel costs. To know for sure, you’ll have to speak with your insurance agent or an insurance lawyer.

How Can I Find the Right Insurance Lawyer?

If you need an insurance lawyer because your claim was denied or stalled, you want to ensure you find the right one for your unique situation. The information below can help you find the right lawyer for your claim.

Ask for Referrals

Chances are high you know someone who has previously used homeowner’s insurance lawyers. Ask your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors if they’ve used one. If they have, ask if they would (or wouldn’t) recommend the lawyer used and why.

Research Online

Don’t know anyone who has used an insurance claim lawyer? Or want more information on the referrals you were given? The internet is an excellent place to research potential candidates.

One obvious place to look for information is on each law firm’s website. The website should give you essential information like how long the lawyer has been practicing and the type of claims they usually do. You should also find the attorney’s contact information on their website.

Another place to look online is to review websites. These are websites that allow previous clients to rate their experience with attorney’s they’ve used before. It’s like asking your friends and family for referrals, but on a larger scale.

If an attorney has primarily positive reviews, you should feel confident in choosing them for representation. If a lawyer has mostly negative reviews, this should be considered a red flag that you don’t want to work with them. Remember to read the written reviews, also, to get a better idea of what to expect.

Make Sure They Specialize in Natural Disaster Claims

There are dozens of law sectors an attorney might work in. You want to find one who works specifically in natural disaster claims. Why?

While many people don’t see the problem of getting their family lawyer to help with their insurance claim, the laws are different. A homeowner’s insurance claim lawyer will specialize in different information than someone who focuses on child custody or criminal defense.

To put it into perspective, consider that your child is having ear issues (which is a widespread problem for young children). Your pediatrician suggests you see an ENT for assistance.

In this scenario, it wouldn’t make sense to see a podiatrist who specializes in feet issues. Right? The same is true when it comes to hiring a lawyer who focuses on the right sector of law.

Call and Ask Questions

You’ve found a few insurance lawyers with good reputations. Now is the time to call and ask questions. A few things you’ll want to ask are:

  • How long have you been practicing insurance law?
  • Have you handled many cases like mine?
  • Who would be handling my claim?
  • What is your win percentage?

When you speak to a potential lawyer on the phone or in-person, consider how you feel about their customer service. A firm’s customer service is equally as important as the questions you ask. It doesn’t matter how much professional experience someone has if communication is lacking.

Speak to at Least Two Insurance Claim Lawyers Before Deciding

Don’t be tempted to retain the first lawyer you speak with because you may end up regretting your decision later. Speak to at least two insurance claim lawyers, so you have a better idea of what to expect. You can’t compare only one thing, after all.

Do You Have More Questions About Finding the Right Insurance Lawyer?

Finding the right insurance lawyer is essential in having your claim processed quickly and efficiently. If your claim is being denied or stalling, the information above can help you find the best attorney for your unique case.

Do you have more questions about finding the right insurance lawyer?

Check out our other blog posts. You’ll find a wealth of information on closely-related topics to help you delve further into the topic.

No comments

leave a comment

  • Newsletter