Legal Blog

When to File a Bad Faith Claim as a Result of Hurricane and Tornado Property Damage

When a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado strikes, many policyholders expect to be covered for the losses that are sure to follow. For the most part, damage and loss due to a natural disaster will be covered under a property insurance policy such as homeowners insurance.  However, there are often times in these cases that insurance companies deny coverage or say that certain damages are not covered by the policy. In cases where the insurance company denies improperly, this will then lead to bad faith claims by policy holders. Some of the most common types of damages due to a natural disaster include the following:

  1. Asbestos- While asbestos is normally excluded, the removal of asbestos following a storm is potentially covered. Because of this uncertain area of law, there is unfortunate opportunity for bad faith claims. Some insurance companies will still say the asbestos is not covered, in which case a bad faith claim may be filed.
  2. Lead Paint- The removal of lead paint is not normally covered by insurance policies. After a storm passes however, some try to claim the lead paint removal as part of their loss. For some cases, it must be first proven that the storm itself caused the harmful chipping or flaking of the lead paint in order for it to be covered.
  3. Mold- Similar to asbestos, mold is a gray area when it comes to insurance policies. While normally mold isn’t covered by policies, delay of action or other actions tend to cause bad faith claims against insurance companies because the mold stems from the insurance company’s actions.
  4. Carpeting- Carpeting can become tricky when it comes to insurance claims. Insurance policies will cover the damaged area of carpet; however it tends to be impossible to replace only a small area of carpet. When the entire area of carpet needs to be replaced instead of just the damaged section, insurance companies may improperly deny coverage for the cost of the entire carpet and bad faith claims may ensue.

If you have any questions about insurance claims or bad faith claims when it comes to natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornados, contact William Pillsbury today. William-Pillsburywpillsbury@offitkurman.com | 267.338.1321 William Pillsbury is a principal and member of Offit Kurman’s Insurance Recovery Practice Group. He represents businesses in a wide range of litigation issues, including efforts to recover money owed to them from their insurers. His clients include state transportation agencies, hotels, restaurants, nursing homes, bio-tech firms, school district joint insurance funds, and individuals. Mr. Pillsbury has worked with a variety of policyholders in efforts to recover insurance of all types, including property insurance, business interruption coverage, and commercial general liability, boilers and machinery, and life insurance. Mr. Pillsbury has also been involved in several cases stemming from disputes over the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law and Section 1983 claims against state agencies. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn.