This winter has brought unusually heavy snow and extremely cold temperatures that are expected to generate up to $2 billion in insurance claims. When large-scale weather events such as winter storms produce a rush of insurance claims, it can happen that insurance companies will wrongly deny claims that should be paid or unreasonably delay payment of claims.
If an insurance company denies or delays payment of a claim without a reasonable basis to do so, that may rise to what the law considers insurance bad faith, and bring special penalties into play against the insurance company.
If you believe that payment of your homeowners insurance claim has been unreasonably denied or delayed, you may wish to speak with one of our insurance lawyers. In the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind.
Common Insurance Claims from Winter Storms
Pennsylvania has had several major winter storms in 2014 that left us with heavy snow, freezing rain and ice, and extremely cold temperatures. The most common damages from these winter storms are:
- Damaged and collapsed roofs from heavy snow accumulation
- Burst pipes from extremely cold temperatures
- Downed tree limbs that damage homes and property
- Auto accidents from ice and unsafe driving conditions
Is Winter Storm Damage Covered by My Insurance Policy?
Many homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for damage related to winter storms. The specifics of every policy vary, however, and it is important that you carefully read your policy when considering or filing a claim for winter storm damage.
Damage that occurs as a direct result of wind, ice, heavy snow, and severe temperatures is usually covered in homeowners policies. Flooding damage, however, is usually not covered in standard homeowners insurance policies, and needs to be purchased separately. The exclusion for “flooding” may apply to flooding as a result of melting snow. Again, the language of your insurance policy will govern this.
Certain policies also have exemptions for damage from winter weather when homes are left unattended without being properly winterized, such as turning off the water to prevent pipes from bursting.
Rejected Insurance Claims For Winter Storm Damage
Insurance companies can sometimes deny homeowners insurance for severe weather by unreasonably claiming that the damage resulted from owner negligence or events that are not covered under the policy. There can also be unclear or confusing language in insurance policies about damage from winter weather, and insurance companies sometimes take advantage of this language to wrongfully deny claims.
For an insurance company to deny a claim, there has to be a clear statement in the policy that supports the insurance company’s denial of the claim. If the language in the policy is unclear, the law will favor the policyholder, rather than the insurance company.
If you have had a homeowners insurance claim for damage from winter weather denied without a reasonable basis, unreasonably not paid in full, or unreasonably delayed, contact our homeowners insurance lawyers today. We may be able to help you receive the insurance payment you are entitled to under your policy.