NYC Renter’s Insurance Claim Attorney

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Renters frequently take the extra step of protecting their possessions with renter’s insurance in New York. They pay the premiums on time and trust their insurance company to have their back when disaster strikes. But often, when they need it most, they face insurance disputes involving denied or undervalued claims.

This is where we step in. At Richman Law Firm PLLC, we understand the intricacies of New York renter’s insurance claims and the tactics insurance companies use to deny or undervalue them. We are here to help you navigate this complex process and fight for your rights and the coverage you paid for. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.

How Renter’s Insurance Works

Renter’s insurance is designed to protect renters’ property from unexpected losses. This coverage typically includes personal property protection, liability coverage, and additional living expenses. It’s important to note that landlords’ insurance policies frequently only cover the physical structure of the building, not the renters’ personal belongings.

When renters file a claim, their insurance company assesses the damage or loss and determines the amount they believe is fair. This process should be straightforward, but unfortunately, it often isn’t. Insurance companies strive to minimize their financial exposure, which means they may undervalue or deny claims.

Renter’s Insurance Typical Coverage

Typically, renter’s insurance policies cover the following:

Personal Property: This covers renters’ belongings in the event of theft, vandalism, or damage from fire, smoke, or certain types of water damage.

Liability Coverage: protects renters from liability if someone is injured on their property and decides to sue. It also covers damage renters might accidentally cause to others’ property.

Additional Living Expenses (ALE): If a rental unit becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, ALE coverage helps pay for temporary housing and other additional costs.

While these coverages are standard, it’s crucial to understand that not all policies are equal. The specifics of what is covered and the dollar amount of the coverage can vary significantly from one renter’s insurance policy to another.

Common Renter’s Insurance Disputes

Disputes can arise in any area covered by a renter’s insurance policy. Here are some of the most common insurance claim disputes we see:

Denied Claims

Insurance companies may deny renters’ claims for various reasons. They may argue that the damage or loss isn’t covered under your policy, that you didn’t file your claim correctly or within the required time frame, or that you’re somehow at fault for the damage or loss. These denials can be frustrating and confusing but are not always final. An attorney may help you understand why your claim was denied and what steps you may take to challenge the denial.

Personal Property Inventory Disputes

When filing a claim for personal property loss, renters must provide an inventory of lost or damaged items. Disputes often arise over the value of these items, and insurance companies may question the original cost, current value, or even the existence of certain items.

High-value Items

Most renter’s insurance policies limit coverage for high-value items like jewelry, art, or electronics. If you have a significant loss in this category, your insurance company may dispute the value of these items or refuse to pay out the total replacement amount.

Replacement Value Coverage

Some policies pay the cost of replacing lost or damaged items with new ones of similar kind and quality. However, insurance companies frequently apply depreciation rates that are unreasonable or inconsistent with the actual market value of renters’ belongings. This can result in a lower payout than they’re entitled to.

Merchandise Coverage

Merchandise coverage disputes arise when an insurance company questions whether certain items are covered under the policy. For instance, they might argue that a specific item is classified as business equipment rather than personal property and is therefore not covered.

Electrical Surges

Electrical surges can significantly damage personal property, particularly electronics. While some renter’s insurance policies cover this type of damage, insurance companies may dispute the cause of the surge or the extent of the damage. They may argue that the surge was due to renters’ negligence. They might argue that the renter ignored previous signs of electrical issues, such as frequent circuit breaker trips or flickering lights, which could have been addressed to avoid the surge.

Temporary Housing/Hotel Costs

When a rental property is uninhabitable due to a covered loss, insurance policies should cover the cost of temporary housing. However, insurance companies often dispute these costs. They may argue that renters could have found cheaper accommodations or stayed in temporary housing longer than necessary.

Pet Care

If renters are displaced from their home due to a covered loss and have pets, their insurance policy may cover the cost of boarding or other pet care expenses. However, this is another area where disputes frequently arise. Insurance companies may argue that these costs are not necessary or reasonable.

Meals

When a renter is displaced from home due to a covered loss, meal expenses can add up quickly. While insurance policies should cover these costs, insurance companies frequently dispute them. They may argue that renters spend too much on meals or that they should be able to cook at home.

Extra Transportation Costs

If renters are displaced from home due to a covered loss, they may incur extra transportation costs. For instance, they may need a taxi or ride-sharing service to get to work from the temporary housing. While these costs should be covered under this policy, insurance companies often dispute them.

Laundry

When renters are displaced due to a covered loss, laundry expenses can add up quickly. Insurance companies may cap these expenses or refuse to pay them, regardless of what the policy states.

Storage

The insurance policy may cover the storage cost if renters are displaced due to a covered loss and need to store their belongings somewhere safe. However, this is another area where disputes often arise. Insurance companies may argue that these costs are not necessary or reasonable.

Third-party Injuries

Liability coverage protects renters if someone is injured on their rental and decides to sue. However, insurance companies often dispute these claims, arguing that the injury was not the renter’s fault or that the injured party’s damages are not as severe as they claim.

How an Insurance Claims Attorney Can Help

When you’re facing a renter’s insurance dispute, it can feel like an uphill battle. Insurance companies have resources and teams of lawyers working to protect their interests. They know the ins and outs of insurance law and use this to their advantage. But you don’t have to face this battle alone. Here’s how we can help:

Review Your Policy: We may review your insurance policy to understand what coverage you have and what exclusions or limitations may apply. We explain these details in clear, understandable terms so you know exactly where you stand.

Investigate Your Claim: We thoroughly investigate each claim, gathering evidence to support it. This can include photographs, receipts, repair estimates, medical records (in case of personal injury), and more.

Negotiate With the Insurance Company: We handle all communication with the insurance company on our client’s behalf. We present your claim in the most compelling way possible and negotiate aggressively for a fair settlement.

Represent You in Court: If the insurance company refuses a fair settlement, we’re prepared to take your case to court.

Keep You Informed: Throughout the legal process, we keep clients informed about the progress of their case and answer any questions. We believe in transparency and open communication with our clients.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

When you’re facing an insurance dispute, the stakes are high. You need an experienced insurance claims attorney who understands insurance law and the complexities of property damage to fight for your rights. At Richman Law Firm PLLC, we have what it takes to take on your case and help you get the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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    SCOTT B. RICHMAN, ESQ.

    Mr. Richman is the Managing Member and Founder of Richman Law Firm PLLC. In his role as Managing Member, Mr. Richman oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm and handles the litigation of the most complex legal matters across a vast array of practice areas and disciplines. ​

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