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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

The Hard Truth About Getting Reimbursed for Hurricane Damages

By Christopher Bagley

With Hurricanes Florence and Michael sweeping through North Carolina less than a month apart in 2018, many Tar Heels have been devastated, with home, business, farm, and auto damages totaling billions of dollars.

ABC11 reports that 185,000 claims related to Hurricane Florence were filed with the North Carolina Department of Insurance, and FEMA received 80,000 claims.

If you are among those filing hurricane damage claims, you may discover that your insurance company is not as willing to help as you assumed.

While insurance companies may want you to think they have your best interests at heart, history shows that’s not always true.

Real People. Real Stories

Insurance Delays and Denials

Two years after Hurricane Matthew damaged one Goldsboro homeowner’s home in 2016, the homeowner is ready to give up. The insurance covered “just enough for a contractor to gut the home and replace a tiny portion of her ruined contents,” according to a WRAL news report.

Meanwhile, the flooring, walls, and the remainder of her belongings were damaged to an unlivable condition, forcing her to live in an apartment while continuing to pay her mortgage. As eastern North Carolina residents were still trying to pick up the pieces from Matthew, Hurricane Florence slammed into the NC coast two years later, damaging her property further. While FEMA rejected her initial buyout application, she hopes this second round of damage will qualify her for relief.

An Ugly Trend in Hurricane Damage Claims

Undervaluing hurricane damage claims is not new to some insurance companies. In fact, this trend seems to have become the new normal.

Hurricane Katrina

After Hurricane Katrina all but wiped out much of New Orleans in 2005, policyholders who believed they were treated unfairly by their insurance companies complained to the Louisiana Department of Insurance at the rate of twenty thousand complaints a month during the first six months after the storm. Thousands of policyholders sued their insurance companies, with more than 6,600 suits filed in federal court in New Orleans alone.

The New York Times reported on one victim that was offered just $41,000 of the expected $100,000 in damages. Another was offered only $16,000 to cover damage that he anticipated totaling $300,000 – less than 5% of what he needed.

The New York Times described the behavior of insurance companies two years after Katrina:

“Insurance companies may have paid out $11 billion to Louisianians in the two years since Hurricane Katrina, but they have also become a new villain in the tales people tell about the slow recovery here. Every neighborhood is full of horror stories about insurance companies that reneged on their promises, offered only pennies on the dollar in settlements, dribbled out payments, low-balled the costs of repairs, dropped long-time customers and sharply increased the price of coverage.”

Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy

Nine insurance companies were accused of wrongfully denying claims and misinterpreting terms following Hurricane Irene in 2011 and superstorm Sandy in 2012. In their attempts to underpay claims, some insurance companies interpreted the policies’ definitions of ground floors and basements in ways that surprised their policyholders.

Hurricane Irma

After Hurricane Irma left a swath of devastation in the Caribbean and Florida in 2017, some insurance companies left homeowners far short financially of what they needed to repair holes in their roofs and water damage in walls, reports Florida’s WINK News. One homeowner was particularly upset to see her “high accomplishment” investment of a home crumble with little support from her insurance company.

Why Do Some Insurance Companies Try to Delay and Deny Claims?

Time after time, some insurance companies have denied claims and underestimated hurricane property damages.

With roughly half a trillion dollars in cash reserves, why do some insurers force hurricane victims to put up such a fight to get what they need to repair their homes, businesses, and cars?

The stark reality is that most insurance companies are for-profit businesses. That is not wrong, it is just business. At the end of the day, like most for-profit businesses, they are looking out for their bottom line – even at the expense of unwitting policyholders.

Click here for shocking examples of some insurers that have tried to take advantage of policyholders in an effort to pad their own bottom lines.

Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin

If you have suffered hurricane damage to your home, business, or farm, you don’t have to go through the fight alone to try to recover damages.

Our law firm has fought insurance companies for our clients since 1997. Moreover, we have many employees who previously worked for insurance companies, and they are uniquely familiar with insurance company tactics. We have seen, firsthand, so many ways they can try to delay or deny claims, we wrote a book of actual client stories called Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly. You can download it free and read these stories, yourself.

If you have or a loved one has been affected by the hurricane or other natural disaster, you deserve a team that will fight for you in an effort to try to get you the maximum amount you are entitled to. Call us at 1-866-900-7078 or click here to contact us for a free case evaluation.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078