Homeowners Insurance Disputes: Who Pays for Damages from a Man-Made Disaster?

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When your home is damaged and you file a claim with your insurance company, they will determine whether the damages were man-made or caused by a natural disaster. Depending on the type of coverage you have, policy limits, and other such factors, not all man-made and natural disasters may be covered. To avoid homeowner insurance disputes, it is highly recommended to review your policy on a regular basis.

What Is the Difference Between Natural and Man-Made Disasters?

Natural disasters are those events that are often caused by an act of nature. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Tropical Storms
  • Hurricanes
  • Flash Floods
  • Flooding
  • Earthquakes
  • Wind Storms
  • Tornadoes
  • Thunder/Lightning Storms
  • Wildfires
  • Sinkholes
  • Landsides/Mudslides

Man-made disasters are those events caused by humans with either deliberate intent or negligence which can lead accidents that cause property damage. Some of the more common man-made disasters which could damage your property include:

  • Accidental House Fires
  • Hazardous Materials/Chemical Spills
  • Explosions
  • Construction Accidents
  • Power Outages
  • Civil Rioting/Unrest
  • Terrorist Acts/War

How Do Insurance Adjusters Tell the Difference?

Insurance adjusters tend to base their initial findings on the cause or source of the damage. For instance, after Hurricane Irma impacted Florida, adjusters knew, in most cases, the claimed damages were the result of a natural disaster, not man-made.

On the other hand, let’s assume your neighbor is rebuilding his home to make repairs after Hurricane Irma. During the reconstruction, the vibrations, movements, and other work causes the foundation on your home to crack and cause your house to settle to one side. An adjuster should be able to determine the damages were caused by your neighbor’s reconstruction, not a natural event.

Who Pays for Man-Made Disaster Insurance Claims?

It largely depends on the type of property damages you experienced and how your policy is worded. Going back to our example above, you would initially contact your insurance company and start a claim.

At that point, your insurance company may pay the claim, much like when you get into a car accident that wasn’t your fault, and then take action against your neighbor or their construction company. However, your insurance company may also deny the claim because the damages were man-made, even though they were not caused by you.

couple on claims with an insurance agent

Can You Dispute Denied Man-Made Disaster Claims?

Just like natural disasters, you can dispute denied insurance claims from man-made disasters, with a few exceptions, such as terrorist acts and war. Adjusters can also make mistakes and may assume the damages were man-made when they were actually caused by a natural event. You can also dispute the adjuster’s findings if this is the case.

However, it is highly recommended to seek assistance from a qualified home insurance dispute lawyer. Going it alone can be challenging, and your insurance company can become difficult to deal with and add unwanted stress and hassles over settling your claim.

For assistance in resolving insurance claim disputes or to get a second opinion about an existing claim you are filing, please feel free to contact Silver, Bass & Brams at 1-888-897-1786 for a free consultation today!

IF YOU ARE HAVING A PROBLEM WITH YOUR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY, HAVE BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT, OR NEED ASSISTANCE WITH A WORKER'S COMPENSATION CLAIM, SPEAK TO OUR EXPERIENCED LEGAL PROFESSIONALS ABOUT YOUR FIRST STEP TOWARDS A SOLUTION