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Bozeman Property Insurance Dispute Lawyer

Bozeman Property Insurance Dispute Lawyer

One of the biggest investments most of us will have during our lifetime is our home, business, or any other real estate. That’s why homeowners and other property owners in Bozeman, MT are quick to acquire insurance to protect that valuable investment in case anything happens to it or at it.

What happens if your insurance company isn’t there for you when you need them most after someone gets hurt when suffering a slip and fall on your premises or maybe your home burns down in a brush fire? What do you do then?

Turn to a Bozeman property insurance dispute lawyer who, during your complimentary consultation with them, will let you know of the rights you have if an insurer seems not to be handling things as they should.

Why Individuals File Property Insurance Claims

While there are various reasons why renters, homeowners, business owners, and others file claims with their property insurance companies, the most common reasons they do include because their home or business sustains damage due to the following:

  • Hail
  • Water or flooding, resulting in mold
  • Wind
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornadoes
  • Fires
  • Ice and snow

Renters, residents, and company owners also file claims with their insurance carrier after incidents, such as:

  • Vandalism
  • Theft

As a residential property owner, you’re likely aware that, while Montana law doesn’t require one to secure homeowners’ insurance, your lender might so that they can recoup any funds they’ve allowed you to borrow thus far.

Injury Claims Filed with Insurers

Aside from claims that a renter or owner might file, there are also ones that injury victims might file with the insurer, such as ones following the following types of accidents:

  • Slips and falls
  • Drownings
  • Dog bites
  • Physical assaults due to poor lighting and negligent security
  • Building contractor injuries

If you file such a claim, you too may find that the home or business owner’s insurer mistreats you and unfairly or unlawfully handles the claim.

Sneaky Tactics Adjusters Often Employ

Insurance companies might flat-out deny your claim because they were successful in baiting you into admitting some kind of fault or liability for what happened (i.e., overloading a circuit causing a fire) or some other unfortunate but valid reason. However, claims denials may occur for completely inappropriate reasons, such as on the basis that exclusions apply.

While that may be accurate in some instances, more often than not, a Bozeman property insurance dispute lawyer who reviews the terms and conditions of the policy will find that the applicability of that exclusion is inaccurate.

Aside from claims denials, other tactics insurance companies employ to minimize or not make payouts to property owners include:

  • Intimidating you into accepting a low-ball offer: While adjusters may certainly attempt to intimate claimants into claiming fault for something that happened, as referenced above, they also often will harass, lie, threaten, or otherwise use underhanded approaches to get you to accept a lower settlement of your claim than what you’re entitled to or can what you can reasonably replace or repair something for or that will cover your medical costs.
  • Depreciating the value of assets: This goes hand-in-hand with low-ball offers a bit. It involves an adjuster telling you that whatever damaged asset you’ve filed a claim for has gone down in value. In other words, they may contend that the reason that they’re not offering you the full value of that particular asset is because the wear and tear it’s sustained over the years since you acquired it has caused its depreciation. Insurers also may utilize a formula for determining a loss of value that doesn’t follow standard protocol.
  • Misrepresenting policy information: It’s not uncommon for insurers to convey misleading information about your homeowners’ policy or other coverage, kind of like the situation with the exclusions discussed above (i.e., the policy doesn’t cover dog bites that occur under certain circumstances). Their expectation may be that you won’t further research the issue or seek help from a lawyer, and therefore, their impropriety will go unpunished, and they (the insurer) will save money in the process.
  • Delaying processing of claims or closing out the case: This approach may take the form of an adjuster requesting more information, saying they can’t reach a decision without it. It may also involve simply not getting back to you to confirm receipt of the claim or records or taking a long time to reach decisions about liability and make an offer. Even if they ultimately decide in your favor, there may also be a delay in sending out the release or check. Once accepted, insurers in Montana have between 30 and 60 days to issue payment.

When To Reach Out to an Attorney for Help

Claimants often reach out to us at Western Justice Associates, PLLC, when they’ve filed property damage and other claims per their insurer’s instructions, submitted adequate paperwork for an adjuster to make a decision, and have still encountered one or more of the complications above.

They also do so when their property claims have been denied despite them having had a solid basis for submitting them. There are other, more rare circumstances that renters and owners file claims for.

A Bozeman property insurance dispute lawyer in our office can assist with any of these.

We assist with any bad faith insurance practices that serve as a barrier to insureds getting the benefits that they’re entitled to under the terms of their policies. Contact an attorney for a free consultation to discuss the next best steps in your legal matter.

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