Life is full of unexpected emergencies. When your closest family members suddenly fall ill, you do everything you can to organize your personal affairs and shift your focus to caring for your loved one.
The last thing you want is a fight with your insurance company when things go wrong. They should be there to help you in your time of need, not punish you for doing what you thought was right.
Wheeler, DiUlio, & Barnabei recently worked with a client who was dealing with this very problem. His elderly mother had fallen ill unexpectedly. She needed round-the-clock care, and her son was the only person who could provide it.
Our client decided to move in with his mother temporarily until she was well again. He packed a small bag of personal items and, knowing the temperature would drop during winter, set the thermostat of his home at a range of 45-48°F. To everyone else, this makes perfect sense. Why rack up a huge energy bill if you’re not going to be home? Logically, setting the thermostat at above freezing should help keep the property warm enough to avoid frozen pipes.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. While the interior of the home would stay above freezing, the pipes (which are set between the walls of the home) were more exposed to the elements, and ultimately froze and burst.
Not only did our client’s insurance company try to claim that he took absolutely no measures to protect his home, they also insisted that his home was deemed to be vacant at the time the damages were incurred, voiding his coverage.
The homeowner was devastated. He was still working hard to care for his mother, and now he felt he was being punished for doing what he thought was right.
Our team knew that this was not only unfair, but unwarranted. The homeowner had entered the home on a regular basis to check on his property and retrieve clean clothes during the month he spent at his mother’s house. He had done everything he could to protect his property. The insurance company was wrongfully denying the full compensation that our client justly deserved.
The courts agreed with us. Not only did they rule that the property was never vacant, but they also determined that, even if it had been, the homeowner had taken all reasonable steps to maintain heat and protect his property.
This was a big win for our client, who collected more than $60,000 to cover the damages to his home.
If you feel that your insurance claim has been wrongfully denied, give us a call. We’ll evaluate your case and determine if your insurance company is taking advantage of your situation to avoid paying you the money you deserve.