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With the recent storm activity and more severe weather predicted as the summer continues, it is important to understand what to do after a property loss to help process a residential property claim. It is also important to understand your rights surrounding insurance laws and regulations in West Virginia.
After damage has occurred at your residence, one of the most important things to do is to make temporary repairs to prevent any furthur damage. Make your best attempts to cover damages in your roof, walls, doors, and windows with plastice sheeting or plywood. Home insurance policies may not cover additional damages to your property if you have not taken reasonable steps to secure the property from subsequent damage.
You should call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the loss. Some questions you should ask include: how long will it take to process my claim; does my policy cover the property damage to my home; will I need to obtain estimates for repairs; and what is my deductible?
Once your claim has been reported, the insurance company should assign an adjuster to work with you and to help you process your claim. Once the adjuster has finished his/her evaluation, the adjuster will likely determine the value of your loss.
Often times, these values can be low or unreasonable. If you do not agree with the settlement offers made by the insurance company, you do have options.
In West Virginia, insurance companies are required to act with good faith and fair dealing in handling your claim. The West Virginia Unfair Trade Practices Act outlaw unfair claims handling procedures. If you do not agree with the proposed settlement, you can contact the West Virginia Insurance Commission or consult an attorney to discuss any potential violations of the West Virginia Unfair Trade Practices Act.
If you believe you have been treated unfairly by your insurance company regarding the processing and handling of your insurance claim, our attorneys can help you determine what options you may have.