Residential Property Claims

Helping Tennessee Homeowners with Insurance Disputes

Attorneys providing strong advocacy when their homes are damaged in the Southeast and Midwest

Policyholders who pay insurance premiums expect – fairly – that their insurance carrier will promptly pay their claim when damage or theft occurs. Many times, however, they find that their insurance company will deny their claim, try to argue that some exclusion applies, or underestimate the value of the damage. An insurance company may delay payment in the hope the insured will get frustrated and take a lower offer or walk away altogether.

The Tennessee-based insurance dispute lawyers at McWherter Scott & Bobbitt represent residential policyholders in Tennessee whose insurance claims have been denied, delayed, or improperly handled. Do not settle your claim until you have reviewed it with an attorney. Often, our lawyers can prove that the value of the damaged property is more than the settlement offer. Our firm anticipates many of the arguments that insurance carriers use in an attempt to deny coverage. We ensure that your valued possessions and assets are properly repaired, restored, or replaced.


Considerable Legal Skills
"I also want to share with you that because of the completeness of your preparation, your considerable legal skills and your force of character(s), I have no doubt that had we found it necessary to go to trial – we would have won the day."

Mary McNally

Considerable Legal Skills
"I also want to share with you that because of the completeness of your preparation, your considerable legal skills and your force of character(s), I have no doubt that had we found it necessary to go to trial – we would have won the day."

Mary McNally

Types of residential insurance claims

Our insurance dispute lawyers handle first-party claims against your own insurance carrier. Most residential insurance policies protect against:

Additional insurance may be required for flood and other damages. A qualified attorney can review your policy to ensure you have proper coverage for your area.

Damage claims in residential cases normally occur in the following categories.

Structural damage

Property damage can be structural, such as damage to the roof due from a storm resulting in water leaks. Damage to the whole house can be caused by a fire, tornado, or flood. The sides, patio, front, foundation or any part of the house may be damaged too. The plumbing or electricity may malfunction.

Personal property damage

Harm to any of the personal possessions in your home should also be covered under a good insurance policy. This includes jewelry, photographs, furniture, clothing, books, rugs, technology equipment, kitchen utensils, etc.

Additional protections

If the damage to your home is severe, you may need a place to live while the repairs take place. Homeowners insurance should cover the cost of living in an apartment or another home. This coverage is known as Additional Living Expense or ALE. These payments are usually made by the insurance company before the entire case is settled. They are often subject to time limits and caps.

Common insurance company tactics used to deny or limit claims

Insurance companies use many arguments to try to deny or reduce your claim. However, many of these arguments can be defeated with effective legal strategies. Our Tennessee-based residential insurance lawyers assist clients by explaining what documentation and evidence are needed to prove the full extent of your losses. Some of the arguments we are prepared to address are:

  • The item was not covered under the policy. The insurance company may argue that an exclusion applies. Our firm works to show that structural and personal property damage is covered under the policy.
  • The value of the item is less than claimed. Our Tennessee residential insurance lawyers verify value by using professional appraisers and experts when necessary. Good homeowners’ insurance should also cover the full cost to replace the items, instead of just covering the value as if you sold them.
  • Causation. Insurance carriers often hire biased experts in an effort to argue that damage is caused by non-covered perils, such as “wear and tear” or “defective construction.” When appropriate, our attorneys strategically work with the proper experts to prove that all damage is covered by the insurance policy.

We’re ready to defend and counter all efforts by the insurance company to avoid their duty to pay the full damages you deserve for paying your premiums.

How can a homeowners’ insurance claims attorney help me?

Sometimes the problem in securing payment for your claims is due to reasons other than the policy. The lawyers at McWherter Scott & Bobbitt are adept at handling the following issues:

  • Bad faith. Insurance companies should act in good faith, help you find coverage and fully pay your claims in a timely fashion. Insurance adjusters may try to delay payment or fail to honor policy provisions. When full payment is not received on time or denied for frivolous reasons, you may have grounds to file a claim for bad faith damages. If the insurance company’s behavior is especially egregious, you might be entitled to a bad faith penalty (25% in Tennessee), or even punitive damages. And in some cases, if the insurance carrier’s bad behavior causes you additional damage, it can result in them having to pay the full amount of damages – even if they exceed the policy limits.
  • Agent negligence. If the agent failed to get you the right policy for your home, failed to get you enough coverage or failed to process the correct payment and paperwork with the underwriter, you may have a direct claim against the agent and the agent’s company. Likewise, if the agent was at fault in the completion or processing of your application for insurance, the agent may be liable for damages.
  • Mediation and arbitration. Some insurance contracts require that disputes be heard through mediation or arbitration instead of being tried before a judge or jury. Our firm can help you in every type of legal forum.
  • Building codes. If building codes were enacted after your policy went into effect, the insurance company will likely argue they are only required to pay for the damage that meets the old building codes. Our lawyers argue that the new building requirements should be met.

If only part of the home is damaged, we also argue that that the new construction work, rugs and carpet, or other new features should blend in with the parts that aren’t being rebuilt or repaired. Some states have specific rules relating to “matching” and we can help you consider those issues.

When your insurance company denies your mold claim

One of the more common residential insurance claims involves mold. Insurance companies traditionally seek to minimize the amount they pay for any mold claims, including black mold. Some insurers will try to pay a sparse amount or nothing at all for anything associated with mold cleanup. A denial of a legitimate claim involving mold damage can constitute an unfair or bad faith claim practice by your insurer.

A mold damage claim will typically be covered when some type of water peril that is covered by the insurance policy also causes the formation of mold. Additionally, mold that develops from a single event such as an ice storm or hurricane may be covered. The point is, don’t just assume that the mold damage and remediation is not covered based on what the insurance company tells you. Remember, insurance companies lose money when they pay your claim.

On the other hand, mold that develops from a chronic leaking pipe or other type of repeated or continuous water seepage may not be covered. Determining what moisture or water source caused the mold to develop is one of the major factors that influences whether a mold damage claim is covered. This determination can be made by experts in the mold inspection and remediation field.

The insurance dispute attorneys at McWherter Scott & Bobbitt will fight to ensure your insurer covers your damages fairly and according to the terms of your policy.

Our residential insurance dispute attorneys get results throughout the Southeast and Midwest

We’ve helped many policyholders obtain fair and just recoveries from their insurance companies. A few of our successes include:

  • After Allstate initially delayed payment on a residential house claim, our firm assisted the insureds in obtaining payment of more than $275,000.
  • We represented an East Tennessee residential policyholder and obtained a supplemental insurance payment of more than $550,000 after a residential house fire in a dispute concerning the valued policy statute.
  • We represented a West Tennessee policyholder and obtained a full policy limit payment of more than $215,000 after a residential house fire.

Read more:

Get full value for your insurance claim by contacting a lawyer

McWherter Scott & Bobbitt fights for all residential policyholders who need assistance and advocacy when their claims are delayed or denied. We help residents of Tennessee get maximum and prompt payment. When you pay your premiums, you deserve to have the insurance company uphold their end of the bargain. To review your case with an experienced Tennessee residential insurance lawyer, please call 731-664-1340 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. Our attorneys are licensed in Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas and Kentucky.