Insurance is supposed to provide peace of mind to protect you, your family, and your property from some of the risks of life. That’s why we buy life insurance to provide for our families, auto insurance to protect us and others in the event we are involved in a crash, and home owners insurance to protect us and others who visit our property. Insurance companies oftentimes fail to live up to their end of the bargain, however, and when that happens, you may need to speak with one of our experienced Charlottesville Virginia insurance coverage dispute lawyers.
A dispute regarding insurance coverage typically arises only after you have suffered what appears to be a loss that is covered by your insurance policy. When you report the loss to the insurance company, some companies will look first to whether there are ways that they can avoid providing insurance coverage for your loss.
Many times an insurance company’s denial of benefits is contrary to Virginia law. To explain, Virginia law has certain rules regarding how contracts are to be interpreted, and there are a special set of rules that apply to insurance contracts. Some of these rules include the following:
- Plain meaning rule. A contract should be interpreted according to the plain meaning of the words used. All words must be given effect, if possible.
- Interpret against the drafter. If the insurance policy can be read in more than one way, and one of those ways is favorable to the insurance company while the other way is favorable to the consumer, the contract must be interpreted in the way that favors the consumer and provides insurance coverage.
- Policy language that excludes coverage is construed against the insurance company. Insurance companies often claim that a particular loss is not covered because it is a listed exclusion under the applicable insurance policy. The insurance company has the burden of proving an exclusion applies, and any exclusions are interpreted in a manner favoring the insured individual.
- Rule of reasonableness. An insurance company must act reasonably with its investigation of claims and in the decisions that it makes.
While denials of insurance claims are always difficult, denials of life insurance claims can be particularly difficult for consumers. As an example of a case that we have handled, our client’s husband purchased a life insurance policy that was to provide a benefit to his wife upon his death. The elderly husband suffered terrible injuries from a fall at his home, was hospitalized, and died two days after the accident. Though the insurance company was to provide benefits to the family upon his death, the insurance company denied the claim.
We filed suit to protect our client’s rights and to obtain the funds that the insurance company had wrongfully denied. Only after fighting hard for our client were we able to obtain a victory for our client and recover funds for her.
If you feel that an insurance company wrongfully denied your claim, please call MartinWren, P.C.’s Virginia Insurance Coverage Dispute lawyers, either Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at (434) 817-3100 or Kirk D. Becchi at (540) 437-1243. We offer free consultations and can meet with you at our office or your home.
You will not owe any legal fees unless we recover money for you.