As Oklahomas, we are no strangers to extreme weather. From ice storms to tornado outbreaks, we’ve seen it all in Green Country, and we’re ready when Mother Nature hits. But that doesn’t mean our home is, which is why it’s so important to have a good home insurance company you can rely on.
Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always willing to live up to their obligations, especially when a rash of wicked weather means they have to pay up for home damage throughout a community. But failure to meet their obligations is not only bad faith insurance — it’s also against the law.
When you need helping getting your bad faith insurance policy to pay out, you need an experienced local attorney who understands your rights under Oklahoma law. As a lifelong Tulsan, Tim Gilpin understands exactly what you’re dealing with when you’re facing storm damage and your policy tries to weasel out of paying. Here’s everything you need to know about bad faith insurance in Oklahoma.
What is Homeowners Insurance Bad Faith?
Anytime you take out an insurance policy whether it’s car insurance or homeowners insurance, you and your insurance company are entering into an agreement. If your policy includes storm damage coverage and your insurance company tries to get out of paying, this constitutes bad faith.
One of the most common issues homeowners run into is a delayed payment —- the same company that expected their payments on time every month might be in no hurry to process your claim. Denied claims are also common after serious storms. The good news is that if your insurance company is giving you the runaround, you may be above to recover those losses in court. Depending on the case, you may even be entitled to recover punitive damages.
Tornado Damage and Bad Faith Insurance Insurance
Ask enough Oklahomans and you’re bound to find an example of bad faith storm payouts. One of the more famous examples involved a Farmers Insurance subsidiary called Foremost Insurance in the wake of the 2013 Moore tornado. On May 20, 2013, an extraordinarily violent EF5 tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding communities. The tornado only lasted 39 minutes, but in that time, it resulted in 24 deaths and left hundreds of Oklahomans displaced. By the end of the recovery, the storm had led to 45,000 homeowners insurance claims throughout Oklahoma City and Moore, costing an estimated $2 billion.
It’s bad enough to experience such tragedy and devastation to one’s home while witnessing the impact to one’s community. But to add insult to injury, one insurance company tried to get out of paying for their obligations and leave homeowners holding the bag. As reported in The Oklahoman, many homeowners called their insurance company to file a claim for their unsafe and uninhabitable homes only to be told that the damage was repairable.
Filing a Storm Damage Claim
Strong winds and bad weather is a fact of life in Oklahoma, but staying prepared for those inevitable insurance claims can help when it comes to making sure your insurance company pays what they owe.
Follow these steps next time you need to file a storm claim:
- Call your insurance company right away.
- Document everything by taking photos and saving them in a dedicated file.
- Look over your insurance policy.
- Contact your insurance company before throwing anything out.
- Keep an itemized list of damaged items and and values.
- Document every contact with your insurance company.
Contact Tim Gilpin for Oklahoma Insurance Legal Help
If your insurance company is dragging their feet, don’t wait to find out what your rights are. Call Tim Gilpin today at 918.583.8900 and get started on the path to recovery.