It is a terrible feeling to discover that someone has broken into your house, stolen your vehicle, or vandalized your property. What is worse, however, is finding out that your homeowner’s or car insurance company does not intend to pay for your losses. Many insurance policies cover misfortunes like theft or vandalism. But insurance companies will often try to avoid paying for these types of claims by arguing that there is not enough evidence to rule out fraud.
If your insurance company refuses to pay or tries to pay you less than you deserve, speak with a theft & vandalism insurance claims lawyer in Fort Lauderdale at Coffey Trial Law to learn about the legal options available to you.
Call us today: 954-541-3194.
What should I do if someone vandalized my property?
If someone vandalizes your property, the first thing you must do is file a police report. Many times, the same group of people will vandalize multiple houses or businesses in the same neighborhood. Alerting the police could lead to discovering the identity of the vandals, but it is also necessary when you decide to file a claim with your insurance company.
After you have filed a police report, you should take photographs of the damaged property and make note of the time you first noticed the vandalism. Then, call your insurance company. Provide them with a copy of the police report and your photographs. Be polite and answer all questions honestly.
What should I do if someone stole from me?
Just like with vandalism, if you discover that you are a victim of theft, you should immediately file a police report and take photographs of the missing items or any damage to your home or business.
If the thieves kicked in your front door or broke a window to enter, make sure to photograph these things. Similarly, if the thieves made a mess by searching through drawers or overturning furniture you will want to photograph these areas as well. These types of photographs will go a long way towards proving you are not filing a fraudulent theft claim.
After you have photographed the damage and made a list of your stolen property (and totaled its approximate value), then it is time to call your insurance company. Share your information with them and be prepared to wait while the company completes its own investigation into the theft.
What can I recover from my insurance company?
Depending on the terms of your policy, you should be able to recover the cost of replacement (in cases of theft) or the cost of repairs (in cases of vandalism).
The insurance company will typically send an appraiser to value the cost of the damage, but it is a good idea to contact an appraiser of your own. If the insurance company’s appraiser’s numbers are too low, you could end up paying the difference out of pocket.
If someone vandalized or broke into your business, you may also be able to recover additional funds through a “business interruption claim.” This is for businesses that must temporarily close down if the building is damaged beyond use or if thieves stole the store’s entire inventory.
Essentially, if you have this type of coverage, your insurer will pay you an amount similar to the profits you would have earned from customers if your business were able to remain open.
Similarly, if vandals damaged your vehicle, your insurance company may also pay for the cost of a rental car while your car is in the shop. It is important to note that your insurer will likely only cover theft or vandalism if you have comprehensive coverage.
Note: File your claim as soon as possible. Many insurance policies have a strict time limit of when you are able to file a claim.
Why might the insurance company deny my claim?
There are several reasons why your insurance company might deny your claim.
The most obvious one is that your insurance company believes the claim is fraudulent. If your insurer refuses to pay because it thinks the claim is fraudulent, we can gather additional information and enter into negotiations to prove that you are not attempting to defraud your insurer.
Sometimes, the fine print of your insurance policy may be the thing preventing you from receiving compensation. For example, most insurance policies have terms that prevent the insurance company from having to pay for vandalism damages if the home or business has been vacant or abandoned for an extended period of time. If you have terms like this in your policy, you could end up paying for the damage out of your own pocket.
In some cases, the insurer might act in bad faith, only performing a very cursory investigation or not investigating at all before denying your claim. If this is the case, or if your insurance is offering you less than you believe you deserve, we can help.
When you enlist our help, we:
- Investigate both the incident and your claim to determine why the insurer denied your claim
- Gather evidence of the incident or of the insurer’s bad faith actions
- Handle all communication with the insurance company (It is easy to make an offhand comment that jeopardizes your claim. We will speak to the insurer for you instead.)
- Negotiate with the insurer
If we find that the insurer has acted in bad faith, we can take the insurer to court for you.
Call Coffey Trial Law to Schedule a Free Consultation
Your insurance company will likely try to avoid paying the complete cost of repairs or replacement after an incident of theft or vandalism. If your insurer is not offering you a fair amount, or if you just want to speak with a lawyer about your case, contact the theft and vandalism insurance claim lawyers in Fort Lauderdale at Coffey Trial Law.
Call us today at 954-541-3194 to set up a free consultation. Before your consultation, read more about us and what we do here.