One of the most common causes of residential and commercial property damage is water. Water damage comes from a wide variety of sources, such as:
- Overflowing sinks, tubs, or toilets
- Broken washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator water lines
- Broken water pipes
- Leaking roofs caused by windstorms
Opening the front door of your business or residence only to discover several inches of water covering the floor is everybody’s nightmare. Most insurance policies have provisions in them requiring the policyholder to protect the property from further damage. Typical policy language requires a policyholder to (a) Make reasonable and necessary repairs to protect the property, and (b) Keep an accurate record of repair expenses. As the number of water damage insurance claims has increased over the years, insurers have changed their tactics in order to minimize claims payments and increase their profits. Some have dramatically changed the language in their insurance policies to the detriment of their policyholders. For example, some insurance policies now place significant time and money restrictions on emergency remediation and repairs. Others offer nominal reductions in the premium amount in exchange for requiring the policyholder to give up the right to use their own contractor.
Some insurers are resorting to even more shameful tactics against their own policyholders in order to reduce claims payouts. In water damage claims where the insurance company actually does confirm that at least some of the damages are covered under the policy, they issue a check to their policyholder along with a letter explaining their coverage position. The check is routinely issued in an amount that is far less than what it actually costs to cover all the damages. Additionally, however, they issue the check with the words ‘Accord and Satisfaction’ written on it. Other insurance companies issue their checks with the words ‘Full and Final Payment’ written on them. BEWARE! If you endorse these checks and then deposit them, your insurance company will most likely claim that you have released them from any future liability. They will insist that they are no longer obligated to issue any future payments with respect to your claim, even if the check you deposited doesn’t come close to covering the total amount of damages. So, if you receive a check from your insurance company that has the words ‘Accord and Satisfaction’, ‘Full and Final Payment’ written on them, or anything even remotely similar to that, immediately consult with an attorney. Do not endorse these checks or take any further action with them until you speak with an attorney who specifically represents policyholders in these types of matters.
Contact our Water Damage Attorneys Today
Sometimes the water damage that you see and report to your insurance company is really just the tip of the iceberg. More often than not there is also a considerable amount of hidden damage that is equal to, or greater than, the damage you initially reported. Understanding the legal process and utilizing experts with significant water damage forensic investigation experience is critical when your goal is to recover all the insurance proceeds that you are entitled to. Kubiak Law Group understands the law, your insurance policy, and the rules and regulations as they pertain to all aspects of water damage claims. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources required to fight insurance companies to protect your rights.
We offer free consultations, the same-day return of calls and emails, and 24/7/365 availability. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and learn how we can help with your insurance claim.