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Earthquake Damage Claims

Standard homeowner’s insurance policies frequently omit coverage for earthquake damage, making it vital for property owners to explore specialized earthquake insurance options. Dealing with the aftermath can be a complicated process, especially when you have to navigate the intricacies of insurance claims and legal requirements. At The Morgan Law Group, we specialize in assisting homeowners and property owners with earthquake damage claims.

Insurance Coverage for Earthquake Damages

Earthquake damage insurance policies can be diverse, offering a range of protections that differ from one provider to the next. Though a majority of policies will cover core areas such as structural damage to your home and the loss of personal property, there’s much more to consider when evaluating your coverage.

Earthquake damage insurance typically provides a comprehensive range of coverages, including:

  • Structural Damages
    Coverage for the primary dwelling structure, which may include repairs or rebuilding costs.
  • Personal Property
    Protection for your belongings within the home, such as furniture, electronics, and other valuables.
  • Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
    Should your property become uninhabitable due to earthquake damage, this part of the policy could cover temporary living costs like hotel bills and food expenses.

Understanding your policy’s terms, conditions, and limitations is crucial. Policies often have deductibles that are based on a percentage of your home’s insured value, rather than a flat dollar amount. Additionally, there might be caps on how much the policy will pay out, or certain types of damage that are not covered. Consulting with an earthquake damage claims lawyer can help you understand these nuances and ensure you’re adequately covered.

Common Earthquake Damages

While you may not be in a region notorious for seismic activity, the possibility of earthquake damage still exists. The types of damage that can occur, leading to an insurance claim include:

  • Structural Cracks in Walls and Foundations
    Cracks in walls, especially load-bearing ones, and in the foundation can compromise the integrity of your property. These cracks can range from minor hairline fractures to more extensive damages that require immediate attention.
  • Plumbing and Electrical System Failures
    The shaking from an earthquake can cause pipes to burst and electrical systems to fail. Not only is this inconvenient, but it also poses potential safety hazards. Repairing or replacing plumbing and electrical systems can be costly and complicated, making it essential to have this coverage in your insurance policy.
  • Broken Windows and Doors
    The force of an earthquake can shatter windows and cause doors to jam or break. While less severe than structural or system failures, these damages can still be significant. Broken windows expose your home to the elements and security risks, requiring swift action to rectify.
  • Damage to Personal Property
    Items inside your home, from furniture and electronics to valuables, can also suffer damage during an earthquake. Such losses can add up quickly, emphasizing the importance of having sufficient personal property coverage in your earthquake insurance policy.

By recognizing these common types of earthquake damage, you can better understand what to look out for and ensure your policy adequately protects you. Photographic evidence, combined with professional assessments, will bolster your insurance claim and facilitate a smoother claims process.

Steps to Filing an Earthquake Damage Claim

Dealing with earthquake damage is stressful, and the claims process can add another layer of complexity. Knowing the steps to file a claim can streamline the experience and help you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.

  1. Immediate Assessment
    The first step is to conduct a preliminary assessment of the damage to your property. This quick survey helps you understand the scope of the issue and what you’ll need to report to the insurance company. Safety should be your priority; avoid entering any structure that seems unstable.
  2. Contact Your Insurer
    Notify your insurance company about the incident as soon as possible. Delays can compromise the validity of your claim. During this initial contact, you’ll likely be given information on what steps to take next and what documentation will be needed.
  3. Documentation
    Documenting the damage is crucial. Take photographs from multiple angles and note the specific areas of damage. This evidence will serve as a valuable asset when filing your claim and can help resolve any disputes that may arise later.
  4. Professional Evaluation
    Having the damage assessed by professionals, such as structural engineers or contractors, adds credibility to your claim. These experts can provide detailed reports and estimates for repair costs, making it more challenging for insurance companies to undervalue your claim.
  5. Submit the Claim
    Once you have all the required documentation and professional assessments, submit the claim to your insurance company. Ensure you provide all forms and reports as per the company’s requirements. Missing or incomplete information can delay the claims process.
  6. Consult Insurance Claims Attorneys
    Insurance companies have their ways of minimizing payouts, such as by questioning the extent of the damages or disputing the cause. To ensure you’re adequately represented and to navigate the complexities, consult with insurance claims attorneys such as those at The Morgan Law Group.

Knowing these steps and acting diligently will not only speed up the claims process but also enhance your chances of receiving a fair settlement. If your claim is denied or you receive a lowball offer, you have the right to appeal. We can help you negotiate and litigate to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and secure the legal guidance you need to get the compensation you deserve.