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A homeowner can avoid low-ball insurance settlement and bad faith

In Texas, an insurance company can deny a property claim inappropriately and be accountable for its bad faith. There are other versions of actionable bad faith, including the scenario when the carrier does not deny the claim, but disputes the value of the claim. The insurance company offers a settlement that is unreasonably low relative to the damages, that should be more fully covered under the policy.

A low-ball offer, however, is not always a matter for the courts. It may also be simply a beginning to a later, higher offer to settle. A homeowner can take some steps to get to that higher amount, if possible.

Know the policy terms

As suggested by Zacks, before making a claim, a policyholder should know what he bought as expressly found in his policy. A policyholder should go right to the source, the policy itself, an on payout.

Document losses

It is also important to document the losses. Using technology today can be very helpful and more valuable than only asserting a claim for damages in writing. Pictures and even video can provide great evidence of damages. A well-documented presentation of losses can help prevent the adjuster from using a broad estimate to value loss with generic assumptions.

The policyholder should keep all the receipts he or she has of prices paid for damaged items which he can use to confirm the age of the item.

Do not shy from negotiating

If a policyholder believes an offer by the carrier is a low-ball offer of settlement, he or she should consider negotiating. It is not unusual for the first offer to be entirely adjustable upwards with a little planned negotiation and presentation of documented facts surrounding the loss.

Other avenues are available

The Texas Department of Insurance advises that if, despite all, a policy holder believes the insurance company has treated him or her unfairly, the policyholder can file a complaint with the state. It also advised that one may consider getting an independent appraisal to counter the insurance company’s estimate of what it will cost to repair or replace the damages. A homeowner may also hire a public adjuster and attorney who practice in this area of bad faith.

 

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The Law Office of Jessica Taylor, PLLC

The Law Office of Jessica Taylor, PLLC
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