Dealing With Complex Vandalism ClaimsPosted July 28, 2017
If your home or business property was recently vandalized and you have extensive property damage to deal with and pay for, you may be wondering if your property or homeowner’s insurance will cover it. The answer is, they should. However, vandalism can be extremely difficult to prove, especially if your property does not have a surveillance system set up. Unfortunately, your insurance company may try to deny you your claim on these grounds alone. This is considered insurance bad faith. If your insurance company unfairly denied you your vandalism claim without thoroughly investigating the incident first, contact the insurance bad faith lawyers at The Bennett Law Firm for the legal assistance you need to fight your insurance company.
Is Your Property Covered for Vandalism?
Unfortunately, not every property is covered for vandalism, but when it is, the insurance company will want to know three things:
- Was the property vacant, and had it been vacant for 60 consecutive days?
- If the policy covers vandalism but not theft, what portion of the damage is due to vandalism, and what portion due to theft?
- Is a fire set by vandals covered under a fire claim or a noncovered vandalism claim?
Once the insurance agency has their answers to the above questions, they will delve further into the issue by asking the following questions:
- When is a property considered vacant? Does the premises have to be free of furniture and other trappings, or do the occupants just have to be out of town for an extended period of time?
- Is there a difference between vacancy and unoccupancy?
- How much property must be present to defeat the vacancy exclusion?
- How often must someone be at the property to defeat the unoccupancy exclusion?
- Is the house considered vacant or unoccupied if they were forced to leave for health reasons?
- Is a home listed for sale after the resident dies considered unoccupied?
As you can see, there are a number of complex issues to contend with in cases of vandalism, which can make it very easy for an insurance company to deal in bad faith with unknowledgeable homeowners or property owners.
Damages Available in a Case of Bad Faith
Under Oklahoma law, if an insurer has recklessly disregarded its duty to deal fairly and act in good faith towards the insured, the victim of vandalism may be awarded punitive damages no greater than $100,000 or the amount of the actual damages awarded in addition to the damages won from their vandalism claim.
An Oklahoma Insurance Bad Faith Attorney Can Fight for Your Rights
If you believe that you were wrongly denied compensation in your vandalism claim, reach out to the insurance bad faith lawyers at The Bennett Law Firm. We can review the circumstances surrounding your vandalism incident and gather the evidence necessary to help prove your case. Call our office at 405-272-0303, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation today.