Property damage claims in California are tried in small claims courts. They cover a broad range of situations and property types, and they can progress from a simple insurance claim to litigation in court. When you are a customer who pays premiums for property insurance, you are entitled to file a claim when it sustains damages from causes that are covered by your policy.
Here’s a quick rundown of the property damage claims that are commonly filed in Los Angeles and the rest of California:
- Damage to homes
- Damage to businesses
- Damaged vehicles
- Personal properties (also known as “chattel”)
If the mediation or trial ends in your favor, you may receive a reimbursement on the cost of the repairs on your damaged property or receive a brand-new replacement. Your property damage claims attorney can explain each of these outcomes to you in further detail.
Properties and Inclusions You Can Include in Your Claim
Before you buy a policy and pay for its premiums, your agent should have discussed in detail the properties and events it covers and the other benefits you can enjoy.
Insurance companies often offer insurance plans specific to a type of property. For instance, you buy separate insurance policies for your house, car, jewelry, and business property. If you have a policy that has broad coverage, you may enjoy double benefits.
So when you seek compensation from your insurance company, or against those responsible for the damage to your property, you can either file a real property claim or a personal property claim.
- Real property claims – These involve insurance claims for damages to real estate and structural property (e.g., your house, business establishment, land, crops) covered by your insurance. Property insurance policies typically cover damage due to natural causes, vandalism, accidents, and acts of terrorism.
- Personal property claims – These are claims for all non-real properties, which may be tangible (e.g., artworks, jewelry, cars, furniture) or intangible (e.g., trust funds, investment shares, and stocks).
You should also review your policy and check if you’re entitled to receive benefits such as:
From homeowners’ insurance:
- Compensation for additional living expenses
- Debris removal
- Compensation for repairs and parts replacement
- Compensation based on your property’s actual cash value
- Water and fire damage coverage
From auto insurance:
- Alternative transportation service or rental reimbursement
- Towing and road service
- Medical treatment and hospitalization coverage
- Coverage for theft, vandalism, windstorm, flooding, etc.
Against Whom Do You File a Property Damage Claim?
There are two possible scenarios in a property damage claim: you can file a claim from your insurance provider or against the insurance company of the people responsible for the damage to your property.
If it comes to light that the damage to your property was caused by negligence or malicious intent, you can file for the highest possible compensation from the other party’s insurance company. If the cause of the damage is natural calamities like a hurricane, tornado, sinkhole, or flood, your insurance company is the one that must step in and make good on their promises.
Unfortunately, insurers are also entrepreneurial entities: they look out for their business’ welfare. Their primary focus, therefore, is to try to get you to settle for a low reimbursement. You can also expect that they will look for reasons to deny your claim.
From Property Damage to Bad Faith Insurance Claims
When insurers begin to act in bad faith, you’ll need an experienced Los Angeles attorney specializing in insurance bad faith cases. Insurance companies in California can be intimidating to policyholders who are not satisfied with the claims benefits they receive. Therefore, you need an attorney who is just as fierce and will assert your right to receive the amount you’re entitled to get based on your policy.
Improve your chances of achieving a good outcome from your insurance claim. Get in touch with Haffner Law if you need assistance in both property damages or bad faith insurance claims. Call us at 213-514-5681 and receive a free consultation with our experienced lawyers.
(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)