Your insurance company's primary responsibility is to pay you fairly and fully for your property and casualty loss. As a part of that responsibility, your insurance company is required to make you aware of what you are entitled to receive under the terms of your policy and to assist you in making your claim.
However, your insurance company has no responsibility and no right to:
- Repair and replace your property
- Select the contractor that will do the work
- Protect your property from further loss.
All homeowner's insurance policies contain the provision which makes it a condition of the insurance policy that the property owner mitigates the loss to the property. If the homeowner fails to mitigate losses, the insurance company could refuse to pay at least some of the damages. In the context of a homeowner's insurance policy the duty of the policyholder to mitigate damages means that the policyholder is required to use reasonable efforts to lessen the damages which have already occurred.
For instance, if the policyholder returns home to find that a water pipe is busted and water is flooding the house, it is the responsibility of the homeowner and not the insurance company to take reasonable steps to prevent water from continuing to flood the house. The policyholder must turn off the flow of water from its source and take all reasonable efforts to remove the water from the house as quickly as possible. The property owner should mop up all the water and use other means to extract the water out of the carpeting to prevent further damage and deterioration of the various components of the house.
If the problem is too large and extensive for the property owner to mitigate the damages, the assistance of a professional such as a restoration contractor should be sought immediately.
It is a mistake for a policyholder to do nothing to prevent further damages to the dwelling because they want to be sure first that their claim is covered by their insurance policy or because they think that it is the insurance company which should repair the damage.
The insurance company has absolutely no obligation to repair the damage. That is the policyholder's job. It is the insurance company's responsibility to, at least at some point in the future, provide sufficient funds to pay for repairs and for mitigation expenses provided the terms of the policy includes such coverage. If you are having trouble with your insurance claim and not receiving the compensation your policy outlines, contact an insurance dispute attorney at Brent Adams & Associates. Our insurance bad faith lawyers handle cases from three offices in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Dunn.