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The Second Emergency: A Property Insurance Attorney’s Advice to Avoid Underpayment by Homeowner’s Insurance

As homeowners, some of the scariest disasters are those that we have no control over, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires. We think of these as among the worst material losses we can bear. But the truth is that many people who suffer through these traumatic events haven’t seen the worst of their luck yet. The most significant losses often come later, when we learn that our insurance companies aren’t going to pay us nearly enough to rebuild what we’ve lost.

I’m Galen M. Hair, a New Orleans-based property insurance attorney specializing in taking on the insurance companies in cases such as these around the country. My company Insurance Claim HQ has helped over 800 families and six churches in situations just like this.

I was drawn to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I wanted to go and help people put their lives back together using my legal skills. I’ve been formally involved in property insurance protection law since 2011 and have been listed on the Inc 500 list and Goldman Sachs 10,000 list.

In 2020 my own home was hit by Hurricane Zeta, and I got to know how that felt intimately. What I know now is that picking up the pieces is something that shouldn’t have to be done alone, and it’s not likely to be your insurance company that acts as your protector.

We often think that our homeowner’s insurance is there to protect us, but the truth is they are in business for themselves and looking to profit off your premiums, and if they can get away with paying you less than you deserve, they will. So that’s where we come in to figure out what disaster victims are truly owed so they can get paid and get on with their lives.

We advocate for our clients with the insurance company to get the correct payout. These negotiations can go anywhere from simply emailing back and forth to proving the magnitude of your loss.

I want to offer you some advice on how to protect yourself in an emergency situation such as this.

How to Know if You’re Being Underpaid

If the insurance company has taken swift action on your claim, you may think, ‘wow, they are really trying to help me,’ but the truth is, they might be trying to underpay you for your claim while you are still in shock.

Not every insurance company will try to underpay you, but the reality is that they are in it for profit. They are a business; they exist to make money, not pay money.

Closely Review Your Offer

When you get your offer, you first need to thoroughly review the breakdown of what they are offering you line by line. If you aren’t sure what you are looking at, I implore you to get a professional property insurance attorney to look at it for you — it might be one of the best financial decisions you ever make.

Remember that, as soon as you sign on their offer, they are no longer liable for anything else you might discover down the line.

Get a Reliable Estimate

The next thing you need to do is compare that breakdown with an estimate from a local, reputable building professional and figure out if what they are offering is enough money to rebuild your home and your life. That means to repair your home fully, replace all its contents, and reimburse you for all temporary living expenses — by law, they are required to do that.

If their number falls short of your total, you are definitely being underpaid on a claim.

In these cases, you need to find people like me and my team at Insurance Claim HQ. The kind of law we practice isn’t the flashiest nor the highest-paid. We do this because we are committed to helping people recover from disasters.

My team of attorneys and I spend a lot of time on the ground, visiting disaster sites. We care what happened to you, where it happened, why it happened, and most importantly, we care about getting you all that you deserve.

About Galen M Hair

Galen M Hair, Owner at Insurance Claim HQ, is a property insurance attorney who has helped over 800 families rebuild their homes and businesses. He has been rated a Super Lawyers Rising Star and voted one of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Click here to learn more about protecting your property from disaster: