Our California insurance attorneys know how difficult it can be to deal with insurance companies after an unexpected disaster. When something happens that severely disrupts your life, like a major illness, death, or natural disaster, the last thing you want to think about- worry about- is dealing with an insurance company employee asking you all kinds of questions. But what is worse is when you realize that all the money you paid over the years to the insurance company is no guarantee that the benefits you expect will be available when you need them.
Our San Francisco insurance attorneys noticed one striking recent example in a CBS News story this week. It involves a California town called Capitola, the site of devastating floods earlier this year. In March, a drainpipe in Capitola burst after an average rain storm. The very next day a larger storm hit the area and Capitola was not only already dealing with a problem, but there was no pipe to drain the water anymore. For the residents of Capitola, California, their problems were just beginning.
Some residents had flood insurance, and they thought surely the hard earned money they paid to their insurance company would allow them to rebuild. But those residents discovered that when they called about their flood insurance, their insurance company told them that the situation did not count as a flood. The company claimed it was a broken pipe and directed the policyholders to their liability insurance. But they were then told by the liability insurance handlers that it was a flood, so the liability insurance does not cover the damage. This ridiculous dilemma caused not only many people to worry about their homes, but also severely affected small local businesses trying to stay afloat in a recession economy.
One insurer of a small gallery denied the claim because it stated that the damage was done by “surface water”, which is not covered under the policy. Of course, the reason there was surface water was the broken pipe and broken pipe damage should be covered. When the gallery tried to make this argument, the insurance company denied them again by claiming a clause that limits coverage 10 days before or after a flood, which is exactly when most of the damage occurs. This is just another example of insurance company trickery and using obscure clauses and fine print to cheat the policyholder out of benefits he or she has diligently paid for over the years.
For the residents of Capitola, it seems no rational argument will change the insurance companies’ minds. The only option many residents and small business owners are left with is to sue the companies to try to reclaim the damages owed to them. And Capitola residents are not alone. Situations like this with insurance companies occur all the time all across California and the United States. CBS News pointed out that if you find yourself in this type of insurance trouble, it is important to contact an insurance attorney for assistance. The Brod Firm could not agree more, and encourages anyone feeling tricked or abused by their insurance company in our area to talk to an experienced San Francisco insurance attorney without delay.
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