Homeowners purchase insurance policies with the expectation that their insurer will compensate them for damage to their homes and personal property caused by a disaster. Insurers are supposed to honor valid claims filed by homeowners whose property was damaged. Unfortunately, many home insurance claims are denied by insurers who act in bad faith, preventing homeowners from receiving the compensation they thought they paid for. If you believe that your homeowner’s insurance claim has been unfairly denied by an insurer acting in bad faith, contact O’Connor, Acciani & Levy as soon as possible. We will provide you a free, no obligation consultation with our Cincinnati home insurance lawyers to help you determine if your claim was unfairly denied. We provide all of our services on a contingency fee basis and do not charge upfront legal fees. You only have to pay us for representing you if we recover compensation.
Our insurance attorneys have decades of combined legal experience representing clients involved in insurance disputes. We know how to negotiate with insurers to reach a fair settlement, and will not hesitate to pursue further legal action to obtain the compensation you deserve. Partner Barry D. Levy is a reputable lawyer who has been named among the Top 100 Attorneys by the National Trial Lawyers. He is also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and earned an AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a distinction reserved for attorneys with strong legal ability and high ethical standards. We know what it takes to get the compensation you need. There is no risk in contacting us for a free consultation.
What Does Home Owner’s Insurance Cover?
Homeowners insurance may pay for the cost to repair or rebuild your home after sustaining damage due to a natural disaster or another’s intentional actions or negligence. When you purchase homeowners insurance in Ohio, it may pay for:
- Repairing or rebuilding your damaged home
- Temporary shelter if your home is uninhabitable
- Damage to your home’s contents or personal property that is damaged or stolen
- Medical expenses of injured guests
- Damage to another’s personal property
- Court costs and legal fees if you are found to be liable for another’s injuries
It is important to understand, however, that homeowners insurance only covers the perils specifically listed in your policy. Depending on the terms of your policy, homeowners insurance may cover damage caused by:
- Civil commotion
- Non-owned vehicle damage
- Glass breakage
- Ice, snow and sleet
- Sudden and accidental tearing apart
- Plumbing or domestic water damage
- Heating and air conditioning damage
- Sudden and accidental injury from electrical appliances, devices, fixtures or wiring
When you are purchasing a homeowner’s insurance policy, it is important that you carefully review the provided coverage. Most policies do not include damage from several catastrophic events, such as damage caused by flooding, mine subsidence or earthquakes. You will need to purchase these policies from your insurer separately from your homeowner’s insurance coverage.
Reasons Why Homeowners Insurance Claims Are Denied
After your home has been damaged by natural disaster or another’s actions, one of the most devastating things you can hear is that your homeowner’s insurance claim has been denied. There are several reasons an insurer may deny your claim, including:
- Not filing your claim on time: Homeowners should report damage to their homes or personal property as soon as possible. Although insurers may have their own deadlines you must follow, the statute of limitations for filing a real property damage lawsuit in Ohio is four years from the date the damage occurred, according to Ohio Revised Code § 2305.09. If you miss this four-year deadline, you cannot sue the at-fault party or insurer to recover compensation.
- Non-payment of premiums: It is imperative that you pay your premiums on time. Failing to pay your premiums may cause your insurer to cancel your homeowner’s insurance coverage, resulting in your home and property being unprotected.
- False statements: After a disaster, insurers may send adjusters or investigators to inspect the damage inflicted on your home or property. You must be truthful when filing your claim. If an insurer suspects that you filed a false claim or embellished the damage to your home, it could result in your claim being denied.
- Insufficient documentation of the damage: Homeowners have the burden of proof to show the damages their home suffered during a disaster or violent event. It is important that you accurately document the damages your home sustained in the event. This includes taking pictures of the damages and condition of your home. Likewise, you may consider taking pictures of your home and personal property before they are damaged, to use a as a reference when filing your claim.
- Exclusion clauses: When filing a homeowner’s insurance claim, it is important that you only pursue compensation for the perils covered in your policy. If you try to file a claim after your home is damage by an excluded peril, such as flood damage, your claim will be denied. Carefully review the perils covered by your policy to know what you are protected from.
- Failing to take preventative measures: After your home or property has been damaged, you are expected to take steps to protect your property from further damage and to lessen the extent of your losses. If you leave your home or property exposed or vulnerable to additional damage after the original event, it may result in your claim being denied.
During your free consultation, our Cincinnati home insurance attorneys will review the reason your insurer provided for denying your claim. If we find that your claim was wrongfully denied, or the insurer acted in bad faith, we will not hesitate to pursue the maximum amount of compensation you may be owed.
When Does An Insurer Act In Bad Faith?
When you file a homeowner’s insurance claim, your insurance company must remain faithful to the terms and coverage listed in the policy you purchased. If your insurer fails to uphold its legal obligation to act reasonably in processing, investigating or paying your claim in a timely manner, it may be acting in bad faith.
There are several examples of insurers acting in bad faith while handling homeowner’s insurance claims. This may include:
- Delaying payments or failing to reach a settlement on a claim without giving a reason
- Failing to promptly investigate or complete an investigation of a claim
- Offering less money than the claim is worth
- Misrepresenting insurance laws or the terms of the homeowner’s insurance policy you purchased
- Refusing to pay a valid claim
- Refusing requests for documentation or failing to provide requested documentation in a reasonable amount of time
- Engaging in deceptive practices
- Making threatening statements
If you believe an insurer has acted in bad faith when handling your homeowner’s insurance claim, it may be in your best interest to consider contacting a Cincinnati lawyer. He or she will understand if your claim has been wrongfully denied or if an insurer has violated the terms of your policy.
How Can A Legal Team Help Me?
It can be difficult to pursue a bad faith insurance claim on your own. Insurers are known to take advantage of claimants who are looking to quickly resolve their homeowner’s insurance claim. This often results in, unfortunately, policyholder’s valid claims being denied or receiving a settlement that does not fully cover the cost of damage to the home.
Often, it requires someone with extensive legal experience and knowledge of insurance policies to negotiate with an insurer to get the compensation you need for your claim. A skilled home insurance lawyer in Cincinnati will understand how to handle an insurer during the claims process. He or she will work to help you reach the fairest results possible, and will know how to proceed if an insurer is being uncooperative or acting in bad faith.
At O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience helping people through the insurance claim process. This includes negotiating with an insurer to recover fair compensation for the damages you suffered. We know how to accurately assess your homeowner’s insurance claim and will let you know if an insurer violated the terms of your policy or has unreasonably delayed or denied you payments.
To learn more, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We will carefully review your homeowner’s insurance policy and the coverage you purchased. Our legal team will determine how we can work with your insurer to resolve your claim, either reaching an accurate settlement amount or filing a lawsuit. We will not hesitate to take every legal action available to get the results you deserve.
Contact Our Cincinnati Homeowner’s Insurance Attorney Today
If you require professional and qualified help with your homeowner’s insurance claim, contact O’Connor, Acciani & Levy today. We will carefully review your claim during a free, no obligation consultation. Our attorneys will thoroughly examine the terms of your policy, as well as the insurer’s actions to determine if you have a case.
Our Cincinnati home insurance lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no upfront cost when we represent you. The only time you have to pay us is if we recover compensation for you.