The answer to the question, “does insurance pay for storm damage,” depends on your policy. If you live in Ohio, however, and pay for severe storm and tornado insurance, your insurance company should help you repair your home after a tornado or another weather event.
Ohio’s storm season is April through July, and unfortunately, insurance companies often act in bad faith during and after this period.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance bad faith refers to any situation in which an insurer tries to escape its duties towards a policyholder. Your insurance company might refuse to pay a legitimate claim, conduct a long, drawn-out investigation for a straightforward claim, manipulate policy language to confuse you, or otherwise act against your best interests.
During a tornado or severe storm, many people suffer property damage, which is expensive for insurance companies. As such, insurers are much more likely to act in bad faith after a weather event because they are trying to avoid liability.
Still, you paid your insurance premiums, and your insurance company owes you the coverage it promised.
What Can I Do About Insurance Bad Faith?
If your insurance company is acting in bad faith, they are trying to get out of a contract. Fortunately, both insurance companies and contracts are regulated by laws at the state and federal levels.
Just like you would hire an attorney to help you enforce a business contract, you can hire an attorney to hold your insurance company accountable. Legal teams like Rourke and Blumenthal LLC help policyholders recover the benefits they paid for – and even punish insurance companies for bad behavior.
Your lawyer can help you prove the legitimacy of your claim, highlight what the insurance company did wrong, and most importantly, recover compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File?
The sooner you file a claim against your insurance company, the more likely you are to win your case. In Ohio, you must file your claim within 3 years of the storm or property damage, or you will lose your right to legal action.
Signs of Insurance Bad Faith
Simple mistakes do not constitute insurance bad faith, and if you want to win your bad faith claim, you will need to prove that your insurance company acted against your best interest.
Some telltale signs of insurance bad faith include:
- Lack of communication – your adjuster is dodging your calls or refusing to inform you of important claim updates.
- Unreasonable delay – your insurance company is not investigating your claim and has failed to approve or deny your claim in a timely manner.
- Requiring excessive evidence – your adjuster keeps asking you for more pictures, documents, and proof of your loss, even though the property damage is evident.
- Changing your policy – your insurance company attempts to adjust or cancel your policy while your claim is underway.
- Raising your rates – your insurance company significantly increases your premium to “punish” you for making a claim.
- Lowballing – the insurance company agrees to pay your claim but offers you a fraction of the money you need for repairs.
- Denials – the insurance company flat-out denies your claim without a valid reason/
- Deception – your insurance company skews investigations or tries to confuse you to avoid paying your claim.
- Threats – your insurance company tries to scare you away from making a claim.
If you have experienced any of the behaviors above, you should speak to an attorney immediately. Be mindful of the way your insurance company treats you and remember that if something does not feel right, it probably isn’t. We have over 150 years of combined experience and an outstanding reputation, and we are not afraid to take on complex claims. Sadly, bad faith insurance tactics are most common when policyholders need help the most.
If you need help with a bad faith insurance claim after a tornado or another storm, please call Rourke and Blumenthal LLC at (614) 321-3212.