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from our blog

August 29, 2017

The Insurance Industry Quick-Hit Settlement

If you’ve been in a collision and it was someone else’s fault, odds are very good that you will hear from the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. It’s a tactic that is happening more and more in Arizona. This is done for a variety of reasons: (1) the insurance company would like […]


Arizona Insurance Issues Plague Scottsdale and Phoenix Metro Homeowners

Do you really know what loss or damage your Scottsdale Arizona insurance homeowner policy will cover?

Will your insurance policy compensate you sufficiently to replace damaged personal property and belongings in your Cave Creek or Carefree Arizona home?

Will your Phoenix Arizona insurance policy cover all of the structural damage to your home, regardless of causation?

If you work from home, will your home office and expensive computer equipment upon which your livelihood depends be covered by your Fountain Hills Arizona insurance policy?

When you enter into an insurance policy agreement with an insurance company, you agree to pay insurance premiums and the homeowner insurance company agrees to provide protection should a covered event occur. You would expect your insurance policy to cover home damage from fire, mold, roof damage, foundation cracks, water damage, hail damage, and theft. And when someone is injured on your property, you would expect your homeowners’ insurance company to promptly pay any legitimate insurance claim, to protect you for a claim in excess of your insurance policy benefits, and to defend you in any resulting lawsuit over a disputed insurance claim.


Some of the Most Common Reason for Denial of Homeowners Insurance Claims

The primary reason why homeowner insurance claims are denied is because the insurance policy didn’t cover the type of damage or loss that occurred. This can mean that the insurance policyholder either didn’t really understand the insurance policy terms, or was led to believe the insurance policy contained provisions for compensation over specific losses, damages, and repairs when in fact it did not.

Typically, an Arizona insurance policy for the homeowner will provide coverage for:

●  Home property damage claims

●  Homeowner theft claims

●  Liability claims

●  Medical payment benefit claims

Under each of these insurance policy provisions, you should read your homeowner insurance declaration, insurance policy, and insurance policy endorsements very carefully to understand the full scope of the insurance coverage provided.  The problem is that you probably won’t learn much from reading the policy unless you are an insurance claims attorney.  The comprehension level required to understand most insurance policies is slightly above that needed to understand Einstein’s theory of relativity. Insurance companies do this deliberately so that they can try to interpret the language to their advantage.


Practical Tips for Pursuing a Homeowners Insurance Claim

Insurance can be boring and the process of getting your homeowners insurance claim fairly paid tedious.  To make matters worse, you usually have to steer through a complicated maze of endless claims forms.

The first thing you should know is our courts have generally held that where those incomprehensible insurance policies have unclear language, the language will be construed against the insurance company and in favor the insurance consumer.  So, if you are in a dispute with the insurance company, do not simply take the insurance company’s word for the meaning of certain language or phrases in your insurance policy.

Second, Arizona insurance law has adopted the “reasonable expectation” doctrine.  Although this can be a complicated legal theory with many nuances, it generally means that you get the coverage you expected, so long as your expectation was reasonable under the circumstances.  This insurance coverage may exist even if the insurance company attempts to exclude it through some fine print in the insurance policy that is to the contrary.

Third, most courts have held that exclusions in insurance policies must be phrased in plain, clear, and conspicuous language.  Most insurance claim denials are based upon exclusions – language usually on the last pages of your policy that attempts to take away the coverage that appears on the first pages of your policy. Many insurance consumers are not aware of these exclusions and many exclusion clauses are difficult to understand.  Because of this, most courts have created legal rules to aid the insurance policyholders.

Finally, if the insurance company denies your claim, the insurance consumer should demand a written explanation as to the basis for the denial.  Do not settle for a simple, verbal denial from the insurance claim adjuster.  Once you receive the insurance claim denial in writing with the basis for the denial, you should read your insurance policy again because you may not agree with the insurance company’s interpretation of the insurance policy language.  In short, make sure the denial of your insurance claim is legitimate.


When Your Scottsdale Arizona Insurance Claim Is Wrongfully Denied

Beware! Insurance companies acting in bad faith may delay homeowner claims processing, underpay on claims, treat you and your family unfairly, offer unreasonably low settlements, and wrongfully deny Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona insurance claims altogether.

If you suspect any of the following acts or omissions have occurred in the denial of your homeowner’s claim, then your Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona insurance company may have violated the law:

●  While conducting its investigation, your insurer intimidates or harasses you and your family, or unreasonably disturbs your neighbors, friends, clients or co-workers.

●  Your insurer unnecessarily delays its investigation and neglects evaluating your claim.

●  Your insurer conducts its investigation, but then offers you an unreasonably low settlement figure, something far below the policy limits; or attempts to bully you into accepting a low-ball settlement just to put an end to the conflict.

●  Your insurer denies your claim for fire damage or theft by unfairly accusing you of insurance fraud, false claims, or even arson.

●  Your insurer denies all or part of your claim without ever clearly explaining the reason why it was rejected.


You Don’t Have to Fight a Bad Faith Insurer on Your Own!

Get help from Shane L. Harward – he’s the Scottsdale attorney who has been challenging insurance companies that violate insurance policyholders’ rights since 1995. When you call 480.874.2918, you’ll get a FREE initial telephone consultation about your homeowner insurance claim to see if we might assist you. Shane L. Harward will aggressively challenge any bad faith insurer’s unscrupulous tactics so you get the full compensation you deserve.

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  • Shane Harward Law Offices of Shane L. Harward PLC

    10575 North 114th Street
    Suite 103
    Scottsdale, Arizona 85259

    Telephone 480-874-2918
    Facsimile 480-588-5063

    By Appointment Only:
    4809 East Thistle Landing Drive
    Suite 100
    Phoenix, Arizona 85044

    Telephone 602-384-4638

    Mailing Address:
    Post Office Box 12877
    Scottsdale, Arizona 85267