The Trouble With Property Insurance

Feb 13, 2020 by

If you’ve paid attention to the news lately, you may have noticed that we’ve been experiencing a lot of natural disasters across the country. From floods and tornadoes in Texas and Louisiana to devastating fires in California, people everywhere are losing their houses and their property to natural disasters. As you might guess, this has not been great for the property insurance market.

Property insurance, like all insurance, works best for the insurers when nothing bad happens. They may say they’re there for you, but when it comes down to it, they’d rather not be. When people make insurance payments, they’re doing it so that they’ll be covered if disaster strikes. If nothing bad ever happens, the insurance company gets to keep the money. Insurance companies don’t want to have to pay for your accidents, because it’ll probably cost them more money than you’ve been paying them to cover you. 

Insurance companies don’t just give you coverage out of the goodness of their hearts; they’re running a business. That’s why high-risk cases, such as properties on the coast, are not covered by every insurance company. Sometimes, people who are covered still have their claims denied. Insurance likes to look for any loophole they can to avoid paying for the damages to your property. If a loophole doesn’t exist, they may try to “low-ball” your claim or prolong paying for it.

What Is a “Bad Faith” Claim?

You may have heard the term “bad faith” before in relation to insurance companies. Usually, this refers to a claim that an insured person would file against an insurance company that tried to use one of these sneaky tactics on them after an accident. To have a case, the plaintiff would have to prove that the insurance company’s behavior was unreasonable beyond a shadow of a doubt. This means that the insurance company also knew they were being unreasonable. 

You can’t have a bad faith claim just because you misunderstood the terms of your coverage, or you are unsatisfied with them after the fact. However, like this property insurance law firm states on their website, insurance companies sometimes like to pretend that your coverage doesn’t extend to your damaged property when it clearly does, and that’s where a lawyer can help.

Going up alone against a large insurance company is not a good idea. It is highly unlikely that, without the help of an experienced property insurance lawyer, you’ll be able to win your case. Insurance companies have whole teams of lawyers who are ready to protect the assets of the company, so it’s not a small thing to file a bad faith claim against your insurance. However, it’s necessary that people continue to do so, if it means that insurance companies are continuously told that their shady dealings aren’t acceptable.

Hopefully, all the people who are suffering from lost and damaged property due to recent events are fairly covered by their insurance. After all, no one can plan for a natural disaster, and those who are affected by them should be able to move on with their lives as painlessly as possible.

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Types of Drivers You’ll Encounter on the Road

Sep 5, 2019 by

When I first got my driver’s license, I was both excited and terrified. Excited at the prospect of freedom, and terrified that I would be involved in a serious accident with another. There wasn’t much I could do except to make sure I was a proactive driver and not a reactive one.

The difference between proactive drivers and reactive drivers is that proactive drivers drive more defensively and take those few extra steps to ensure their safety. Part of being a proactive driver was making sure that I knew about the most dangerous types of drivers out there. Here are the top three drivers that any defensive driver should keep their eye on when driving.

  • #1: The Busy Bee

The Busy Bee is someone who is very clearly in a rush. They’re the person constantly weaving in and out of traffic, often switching lanes every couple of seconds because they cannot afford to be behind one more car. Busy Bees can often be found going a couple of miles over the speed limit and waiting until the last minute to signal a lane change.

If you’re behind a Busy Bee, give them the space that they so desperately need. You never know when they’re going to change lanes, and there’s a good chance they won’t give themselves enough room to change properly, leading to an inconvenient fender-bender.

  • #2: Grandma

Grandma drivers are the antithesis to the Busy Bee. They tend to drive a good ten miles under the speed limit and signal a few blocks from where they intend to turn. While being a cautious driver is always a good sign, these drivers can slow down the flow of traffic which can be just as dangerous as speeding.

If you’re caught behind a Grandma, try not to get angry at their low speeds and overly-cautious driving. If you can safely get ahead of them, then that absolves the issue completely. Of course, make sure that you’re not recklessly swerving through traffic like the Busy Bee! It’s better to be stuck behind a slow driver than cause an accident trying to evade one.

  • #3: Drunk Dave

Without a doubt, Drunk Dave is the most dangerous driver you’ll hopefully never encounter on the road. They’ve consumed too much alcohol and are generally more careless on the road, and have extremely reduced reaction times.

If you see someone you think is a drunk driver, give them ample room and make sure there is a local authority around who can help fix the dangerous situation. Truslow & Truslow advise drivers to be on the lookout for someone who is drifting from lane to lane and making illegal turns. Those are the major indicators of a drunk driver.

We’ve all been a Busy Bee at one point and most of us started out as Grandmas, but we should all do our part to never be a Drunk Dave. If you’re going out, leave the keys at home or only have one or two drinks.

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How Does Simplified Divorce Work?

Apr 9, 2019 by

Yesterday, I received a distressed call from one of my fraternity brothers from my college days. He told me that he had been having a lot of trouble in his marriage recently and that his wife was considering filing for divorce. He asked for my help because he is too emotional to think straight, and he needs advice. He did not know if he needed a lawyer or not and asked me to look into it for him so that he could focus on saving his marriage instead of figuring out how divorce works. I did some research and came across the website for the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., which had some very helpful information about divorce proceedings.

The website I found was for a lawyer that specifically practices in the area of simplified divorce, which is a subset of divorce law. In New Jersey, a judge can grant a “simplified” divorce if the two parties to the divorce are able to come to a reasonable agreement about the distribution of assets in the divorce. A simplified divorce is an expedited process that allows you and your spouse to stay out of court as much as possible. I had no idea that this was even an option. There are a few criteria that must be met for a simplified divorce. First, there are no minor children involved, which helps because it eliminates custody, visitation, and child support considerations. Also, both parties must agree that the marriage is ended and cannot be saved. If one party does not agree that divorce is necessary, it will make the process entirely more complex and they might contest issues that should be easily resolved. Finally, both parties must be in agreement about the distribution of marital property, which includes debt. If the partners don’t agree on major assets like house or vehicles, it makes the process much more complicated and adversarial than a simplified divorce.

Even though the divorce may be simplified and expedited, it is still recommended to hire an experienced attorney because even though it is a simplified divorce, there is almost never a truly simple divorce. It’s important to hire an attorney, especially if you are on good terms because it creates a new avenue for the communication about what you want and what you are willing to compromise on. You have an objective third party on your side that is your advocate, and they can communicate your wishes to the other party without the high emotion that can come when two people going through a divorce communicate with each other. You don’t want to give up assets or rights of yours that you really want just to keep the peace and keep your divorce amicable. Additionally, in order to resolve your divorce, you need to create a written agreement that will be presented to the judge in court. This document must be exhaustive and crystal clear with as few ambiguities as possible. Therefore, it’s important to have this document drafted by an attorney that has done this before and will not make the same mistakes a first-timer or an untrained legal writer would make.

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Yachts Are Changing How People Celebrate

Oct 19, 2018 by

We’ve all been at those terribly boring parties where everything is predictable. The music is the same, the food is the same, the location is the same, and the whole event goes exactly like you knew it would from the moment you accepted the invitation.

This can be true for work events between colleagues, business events when trying to get new clients, weddings, anniversaries, and just friendly gatherings. It’s all boring enough to almost make you want to stay home.

Yet, parties don’t have to be that way, and increasingly, people are finding innovative ways to really shake things up.

Take, for instance, the yacht party. Places like Anita Dee in Chicago can now host all manner of get-togethers that are nothing like the parties you’re used to. Now, you’re not in a hotel or specially designated space – you’re cruising around Lake Michigan and down the river through Chicago.

That right there starts things off on a whole different level. It’s hard to get bored when the scenery is constantly changing, with new sights flowing past regularly.

Beyond that, there’s a whole new level of service on a yacht. For an afternoon or an evening, you get top-notch luxury. You can also introduce new entertainment to entertain your guests.

Beyond that, there’s a lot of advantages to being mobile. You can dock anywhere in Chicago and take your party wherever you need it to go. Start near Navy Pier and then end over in Anderson, Indiana at the casinos if you want. Or start and finish in Chicago, but dock near your favorite bar for a nightcap on a great evening.

This kind of flexibility opens up the whole party to a completely different experience every time you go out. You go where you want, bring the kind of food, drink, and entertainment you want, and you make the travel the whole point of getting together.

This kind of out-of-the-box thinking can really liven up even the dullest of corporate gatherings. You have much more to talk about, much more to see, and much more to look forward to. For weddings, it’s even better. You can have the ceremony on the yacht and start the honeymoon as soon as you get off.

The options really just make this a far more interesting way to plan a party.

Hopefully, this is the start of a trend that moves parties away from the safe and predictable to the flexible, adventurous, and diverse.

That way, the next time you come back from a big party, you won’t have the same old dull stories to tell. You’ll have the scenery, the adventure, and the luxury to brag about. And guaranteed, you’ll want to get back out there again soon.

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Surviving Hurricane Harvey

Oct 24, 2017 by

When Hurricane Harvey hit, I was in my apartment with my family, which includes my two parents, both my mother and father-in-law, all three of my children, as well as my children and my sister’s family.  

Together, we decided we could ride out the storm. When the storm knocked out the power, the little ones began to get frightened.  The generator would have kicked on, but the apartment manager kept putting off when he was going to get it fixed.  The last thing we heard on the news was how bad the storm was getting.  

We kept looking out the window, watching the water get higher and higher.  Finally, my sister decided that if we saw help coming, we were going to try and flag it down to help us as well.  

Even though we are on the second floor, the water became high enough for a boat to literally float up to our front door.  As calmly as we could, we managed to fit our whole family into two decent sized watercrafts that were making their way past our apartment complex.  We were only able to take with us what could go in our pockets and on our backs.

Once safely on the boat, I got a call from the lady, whose house I clean, saying that she and her family just had their house flooded.  They live in the area that is not supposed to suffer from the storm, near the reservoirs.  My boss wanted me to come over and help clean up the mess.  I had to deny her request, as there was no way I could get there without the bus, let alone in these conditions.  She was furious at me, more than usual.  

On the next day, after we reached a sheltered on dry land, everyone is thankful to be safe.  

The next day, we received a phone called from our landlord, telling us that, not only will we not be reimbursed for these days that we are unable to stay in our apartment, but we are all being evicted because we are unable to go to work and receive our paycheck for this month.  To make matters even worse, if we do not return to the apartment tomorrow, our belongings will be taken away, to allow for new tenants to enter the apartment, as soon as the water damage is cleaned up.  We will not be able to return home to collect our belongings because we are only here on dryland because of the generosity of others, and we would need to rent a moving truck, which people are not doing right now, to move all of our stuff.  

We’ve been seeking a reservoir claims attorney to help us out of this mess, but the search is slow-going.

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