Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I hire an attorney to help me with my property insurance claim?
Answer: Insurance policies are drafted by insurance companies and riddled with loopholes intended to bring the companies the greatest benefit – often at your expense. Navigating the language in a policy in an effort to digest coverage, exceptions to coverage, and addendum to coverage is an extremely tedious, complex endeavor that even judges have difficulty with. To be sure your claim is handled properly and you receive all the benefits you are entitled to while avoiding the pitfalls to coverage, you should retain an attorney experienced and knowledgeable in handling property damage insurance claims.
Can I trust my insurance company’s adjuster to help me with my claim?
Answer: NO! Your insurance company’s adjuster works for your insurance company – NOT YOU. Your insurance company’s adjuster’s job is to limit the amount your insurance company pays you on your claim and to look for any way to minimize your damages and deny you benefits you are entitled under your policy.
Can a public insurance adjuster help me?
Answer: Typically, yes, but it depends upon the stage of your claim and the proposed scope of services. For example, if the insurance company has already extended coverage for your loss and you need to itemize the amount of your loss and inventory your personal property, a licensed public insurance adjuster can perform an excellent job inventorying your personal property and advocating for the amount to be paid under your policy. However, if your insurer has raised issues of coverage, asked you to appear for an examination under oath, or the time limitation for suit is nearing, you need an attorney to represent you. Our law firm works with several licensed public insurance adjusters and we are always willing to refer one to you for your particular needs.
What is my time limit to bring suit against my insurance company?
Answer: Depending on the type of loss and the specific language in your insurance policy, you generally have one year for damages caused by wind or hail and two years for damages caused by fire.
Do delays by my insurance company extend the time limit for suit?
Answer: No. Unfortunately, an all too common tactic of insurance companies is to delay the payment of claims and string policyholders along until the time limit for suit has passed and policyholders have no further regress – seek advice of a lawyer before it is too late.
What does it mean if my home is deemed a “total loss” after a fire?
Answer: In Minnesota, if your dwelling is deemed a “total loss” after a fire, you are entitled to the stated limits on your homeowner’s insurance policy under the Minnesota Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy.
What is an appraisal?
Answer: If you and your insurance company disagree on the amount of loss sustained to your property, you have the right to have the damages reviewed by an appraisal panel consisting of an appraiser of your choice, an appraiser selected by your insurance company (who will advocate for your insurance company), and a neutral umpire agreed upon by your appraiser and the insurance company’s appraiser. You and your insurance company will have the opportunity to present your arguments to the panel and have the panel reach a determination as to the amount of loss.
Watch out! Corruption of the appraisal process by insurance companies is rampant in the State of Minnesota. You should be very careful not to be lulled into the “good ol’ boy” network of appraisers and umpires who make a living from serving on appraisal panels alone. Contact our office for guidance before making your decision.