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Property Damage Archives

How Long Does a Homeowner or Business Owner Have to File a Lawsuit After a Property Damage Loss?

In Pennsylvania, there is a 4 year statute of limitations on a breach of contract claim and a 2 year statute of limitations for a bad faith claim. It is important to point out that most property damage insurance policies sold in Pennsylvania contain a suit limitation provision, that limits the amount of time a policy holder has to file a lawsuit if their property damage claim was denied or underpaid. Typically, the suit limitation provision limits the time in which a homeowner or business owner has to file suit to either 1 or 2 years. It is extremely important that you review your insurance policy immediately after property damage to your home or business as your time for filing suit may be less than what you initially expected. Because of this, after any homeowner or business property damage loss, you should contact an experienced property damage attorney.

Does a Homeowner or Business Owner Need to Comply With The Property Damage Insurance Company's Request for EUO and What Happens if They Refuse to Appear For The EUO?

An EUO is under a property damage insurance policy is known as a condition precedent. Under Pennsylvania law, a condition precedent simply means that a policyholder must comply with the terms in order to obtain coverage for the loss. It is important to point out that if a policyholder refuses to comply with any condition precedent, a property damage insurance company may deny their claim even if the loss would otherwise be covered under the policy. As part of the property damage insurance policy, the insurance company may take the EUO of anyone who qualifies as an insured under the insurance policy. For example, this could include other members of the policyholder's household, or in the context of a commercial property damage insurance policy, this could also potentially include The insurance company may take the Examination of the persons identified as "insureds" under the policy and, depending on the type of policy you have, employees, members of your household, or others "to the extent it is within the insured's power to do so.Also, the insurance company has the right to examine each insured separately. For example, spouses who are both insureds under a policy do not have the right to sit in on each other's EUO. Furthermore, many insurance companies request insureds to produce documents pertinent to the claim either before or at the time of the EUO. The failure to comply with the insurance company's requests may be used as a basis for denying the claim.

WHAT ARE EXAMINATION UNDER OATH, DECLARATION PAGES, EXCLUSION AND BAD FAITH?

What is a Statement Under Oath or Examination Under Oath?

Almost every insurance policy requires an insured to appear for an Statement or Examination Under Oath ("EUO") upon request as one of the duties of the insured post-loss. The EUO is a formal proceeding conducted by an attorney hired by the policyholder's insurance company in front of a before a court under oath. Just like a deposition, the statements the policyholder makes under oath at an EUO are admissible in a court of law. The policyholder does have the right to have an property damage attorney present but the policyholder's property damage attorney may not ask questions and may not raise objections. This is the primary difference between an EUO and a deposition.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE PROPERTY DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS?

1. Immediately report the property damage to your insurance company.
Under most insurance policies, an insurance company will provide emergency services if your home has sustained damage that requires immediate attention, such as water damage, wind damage or fire and smoke damage. If you do not immediately report the property damages to your insurance company, the insurance company will typically not send out an emergency services. Similarly, most Pennsylvania property damage insurance policies include provisions that permit a property damage insurance company to deny a claim if the loss is not timely reported.

PENNYSLVANIA PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIMS HANDLING: IMPROPER INVESTIGATION OF PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM GIVES RISE TO UTPCPL ACTION

A recent Pennsylvania judicial opinion has expanded a Pennsylvania a seven year old decision by a Pennsyvlania federal court to codify a policyholder's right of recovery under Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law ("UTCPL")

PENNSYLVANIA INSURANCE CLAIMS HANDLING: INTERPRETING THE APPRAISAL PROVISION CONTAINED IN A TYPICAL PENNSYLVANIA HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE POLICY TO AVOID BAD FAITH

insurance-policy (1).jpgAn appraisal provision of some sort is contained in most Pennsylvania homeowner's insurance policies and allows for either the homeowner or the insurance company to demand appraisal if the two parties cannot agree on the amount of the loss to the home after a storm or similar covered event.

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