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Joseph M. Ghabour & Associates LLC

What is Bad Faith by an Insurance Company? I Have Superstorm Sandy Damage, was Insured - But now They Won't Pay.

For home owners and business owners who suffered damage to their homes, offices and properties, the process of dealing with a Superstorm Sandy insurance claim is often  another stressful situation. Insurance companies may deny Sandy losses or find reasons to under-compensate or unreasonably delay paying out a claim — known as "bad faith insurance" in the industry. In addition, if the aftermath of Sandy is anything like Hurricane Katrina, some policyholders may find themselves considering a Superstorm Sandy insurance lawsuit to force their insurer to pay their claim.

This means insurers should not use tactics to unreasonably delay paying out your claim. Tactics some insurance companies are accused of using include requesting paperwork that has already been sent, claiming paperwork has gone missing or been filled out improperly, or claiming that damage was caused by factors not covered in the policy.

Some of the responsibility for insurance claims falls with policyholders. For example, insurance policies will have deadlines for filing claims, and policyholders must meet those deadlines where practical. Property damage claims that could be made following Hurricane Sandy — depending on the claimant's policy — include personal property losses, exterior property damage, structural damage, wind damage, fire damage, and roof damage.

Business owners may file claims for property damage and, where it is covered in their policy, loss of business. Business owners may still have to wait to have their claim assessed, however, which could further delay reopening their business. Many insurance adjusters are not propertly trained to assess damage. With 72,000 damaged homes, having enough trained assessors on-hand is nearly impossible.

If an insurance company refuses to pay a legitimate claim or unreasonably delays payment of that claim, policyholders still have legal recourse. This might not be ideal, but if your insurance company fails to honor your policy, it may be the only way to obtain the coverage you paid for. Good luck in your recovery, and your dealings with your insurance. Most insurance companies are fair and honest business people. Unfortunately, there are enough who are not, to make you be careful when dealing with your insurance company.

Joseph M. Ghabour
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Auto, Bus, Pedestrian, Motorcycle accident, medical malpractice and worker's compensation attorney.

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