Homeowners insurance provides peace of mind to individuals who own real property. For most Americans, real estate is generally the largest purchase they will ever make. In case someone is injured on premises, a tree falls on one's house, or a tornado hits--the owner knows that their insurance company will help cover the costs for repairing or rebuilding their biggest investment. However, studies and court records show that many insurance companies will offer just half of the replacement cost outlined in policies. What can homeowners in North Carolina do if their insurance company is not providing the compensation outlined in their policy?
First, understand why insurance companies make these insufficient offers: Profit. According to Bloomberg, "Paying out less to victims of catastrophes has helped produce record profits."
Second, understand how insurers can pay out less: Control. When an individual and their family suffer the devastating effects of storm damage or other property loss they are often at the mercy of insurance adjusters. The rebuilding process can't begin until adjusters have visited the property, and covering the costs of repairs usually depends on insurance coverage. Insurance companies can delay payouts, which could make homeowners anxious to accept whatever they can possibly get in order to proceed with rebuilding their home and life. Postponing payouts is not the only tactic. Court records from several southern states cited by Bloomberg reveal that insurance companies have retroactively changed coverage, let engineering reports go unacknowledged, instruct adjusters to lie, or generate analysis programs that reduce payout calculations.
What can a homeowner do? Fortunately there are laws that protect consumers from insurance bad faith practices. Law firms, such as our offices in the greater Triangle-area, represent insurance dispute cases. Our insurance dispute attorneys in Cary and Raleigh advocate on behalf of policy holders to ensure their rights under federal and state law are exercised to the fullest extent. Some claimants are able to settle insurance disputes in out-of-court negotiations through arbitration or mediation. Under other circumstances, the claim may move to jury trial.
How long does the insurance dispute process take? A defined calendar system for insurance disputes does not exist. Perhaps a claim could be settled in a few months, or it might be several years before a ruling is made. Our North Carolina insurance dispute attorneys offer complimentary case evaluations and can provide a better idea of what a timeline might look like for your specific circumstances. Additionally, insurance dispute attorney Brent Adams wrote a book, free to individuals in North Carolina, that explains the dispute process. Request a copy of How to Get Maximum Recovery.