Orange County Bad Faith Fire Insurance Claim Attorney
Your home is one of the most valuable and important things that you own. It means much more than the materials used to build it and the possessions it contains. Homeowners’ insurance exists to provide a measure of security and peace of mind to homeowners should their homes ever suffer severe damage from unexpected or unavoidable events, such as fires. Unfortunately, homeowners’ insurance that includes fire damage coverage is often difficult to analyze, and insurance companies are rarely forthcoming when it would result in paying out on a claim.
Insurance companies in the United States have a legal duty to process all legal claims in good faith, including those resulting from fire damage. If you have recently filed a homeowners’ insurance claim for fire damage and believe the insurance carrier mishandled your claim or did not handle the claim honestly, contact our firm. An Orange County bad faith insurance claim attorney is your best resource for determining your best available legal options.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
As a general rule, it is best to avoid speaking with insurance companies and their agents without legal representation. There is little incentive for any insurer to pay out on a claim if they can avoid it because doing so lowers their profits. Hiring an Orange County bad faith insurance lawyer is the best protection against bad faith practices when you are simply trying to secure coverage you have rightfully purchased after your home has been damaged in a fire.
Homeowners in Orange County and throughout California live in one of the most susceptible regions of the country when it comes to fire damage, from both wildfires and utility structure failures. When fire damage strikes your home and leaves you at the mercy of an insurance carrier that refuses to handle your legitimate claim for coverage faithfully, an Orange County bad faith insurance attorney is your best asset. We will fight for the coverage you need and compensation for damages the insurance company’s actions caused. Without an attorney, you would need to fight the insurance company’s decision on your own and face their in-house legal team.
Choose Winthrop Group Law, PC
When you need an Orange County bad faith insurance lawyer to assist you with a fire damage claim that you believe was mishandled or processed in bad faith, the team at Winthrop Group Law, PC is here to assist you. Our firm specializes in highly technical business litigation and insurance bad faith litigation. We have years of experience handling complex bad faith insurance claims relating to fire damage and other losses. We know the methods insurance carriers use to evade and obfuscate their financial responsibilities to their policyholders. Our team will work closely with you to gather documentation, perform a detailed investigation, and carefully analyze your policy to determine the fair claim payout you deserve.
How Does Fire Damage Coverage Work?
A homeowners’ insurance policy typically outlines multiple forms of coverage included in the policy. In exchange for premium payments paid by a policyholder, the insurance company agrees to pay for the coverage listed in their policy. However, insurance companies are very particular about the wording of their policy. If you intend to make a claim for fire damage to your home, your insurance policy must include clear verbiage outlining your coverage in the event of a fire. Some of the most common causes of fire damage in California include:
- Defective or damage home heating fixtures.
- Frayed, damaged, or faulty electrical wiring.
- Defects in gas appliances.
- Gas leaks.
- Defective or broken smoke alarms.
- Wildfire damage.
One of the problems many homeowners face when they must file homeowners’ insurance claims for fire damage is that they may believe their policy covers a particular type of fire damage only to receive a response from the insurance company stating that it does not.
Unfortunately, some insurance claim adjusters attempt to interpret the wording of their policies in such a way as to claim a policyholder’s claim is not covered under the terms of their policy. For example, if you have a gas leak in your home that causes an explosion, your policy may indicate coverage for “gas leaks.” However, the insurance claim adjuster states the company is only liable for the damage to your gas pipes and structures, not the damage from the explosion. When an insurance company appears to have misinterpreted, whether knowingly or unknowingly, the elements of your claim, it is essential to seek the guidance only an experienced Orange County bad faith insurance attorney can provide.
Identifying Bad Faith Practices in a Fire Damage Claim
“Bad faith” refers to an insurance company’s failure to process a legitimate claim accurately and honestly for coverage. When an insurance company engages in any unreasonable or unethical behavior to avoid paying on a policyholder’s claim for fire damage, an Orange County bad faith insurance lawyer is the best available asset for the policyholder to ensure they receive the coverage they need. It is not necessary to prove that the insurance company acted with actual malice or cruel intent but that their actions were unreasonable given the circumstances.
Bad faith insurance practices can include:
- Unjust denial of claim, or denial of claim without suitable explanation.
- Unreasonable denial of coverage, such as interpreting the wording of a policyholder’s fire damage coverage as inapplicable to the current claim when the facts indicate otherwise.
- Lowball offers. Most insurance agents will attempt to pay out the absolute minimum required. However, if the policy and facts of the matter indicate that this would be insufficient and unacceptable, pushing a lowball offer is an act of bad faith.
- Late or delayed payments. If an insurance company takes an unreasonable amount of time to process payment on your claim, this can constitute an act of bad faith. This would be especially true if the delay results in damages, such as additional out-of-pocket expenses that should have been covered by insurance.
- Rescission. This is the act of rescinding a policyholder’s coverage due to a technicality with their initial application for insurance coverage. While this may sound extreme, it is not unheard of for an insurance company to attempt to cancel a policy to avoid paying out a substantial claim. Doing so is a clear example of bad faith insurance.
These are just a few examples of how insurance companies can engage in bad faith practices in response to legitimate claims for fire damage coverage.
If you have recently experienced any interaction with an insurance company representative and believe they have handled your claim in bad faith, we can help. Winthrop Group Law, PC is ready to assist you in holding them accountable for their actions. Contact us today to learn more about how an Orange County bad faith insurance lawyer can assist you.