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In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian became the worst tropical storm to ever hit the Bahamas. Because it moved so slowly, the strong winds and heavy rains caused catastrophic damage, destroying thousands of homes and causing over 70 deaths—though the exact death toll still remains unknown.
When you have something valuable, you want to protect it. That’s why you get insurance: it’s a safety net against the unforeseen and unfortunate events that threaten our investments. When you need it, you expect your insurance company to be on your side, to act in good faith and honor your claim.
If your home has been damaged by water, fire, wind, a falling tree or a thief, you already feel victimized by those events. The last thing you expected or need is to be victimized a second time by the insurance company when they underpay your legitimate claim.
Whether frozen pipes in the winter that burst and send water spewing or a sump pump that quit working during a heavy summer storm, the damage caused while no one is home can run into many thousands of dollars and ruin furniture, flooring, appliances and even irreplaceable family photos and mementos.
While it’s not much fun, it’s important to read and understand your policy, especially the fine print. Find it confusing? You’re not alone. Like many industries, insurance has its own jargon: for instance, there’s a difference between a catastrophe, a hazard and a peril—and it’s not just about a given degree of damage.