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Burglar causes damage but insurance company won't pay

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It was a nightmare. Burglars ransacked the home of a single dad and his five kids, who were all under the age of 12. Not only did they steal a lot of personal property, they left the tap running in the bathtub, flooding the family's house.

The homeowner filed a claim with his insurance company, Ameriprise Insurance, requesting $134,000 in repairs for the water damage. Despite providing evidence of his claim -- including a detailed police report of the burglary -- his claim was denied. In fact, Ameriprise, also known as IDS Property and Casualty Co., began investigating him for fraud within a week of the crime.

To make a long story short, the father was forced to file a bad faith claim against Ameriprise in order to get his home fixed, pay for the 14 months he and his children had to live elsewhere and for cleaning up the mold issue that resulted from inadequate repairs. Four years later, a jury awarded the family $1.3 million: $900,000 was in a form of punishment against the insurance company for acting in bad faith and $200,000 for emotional distress suffered by the family.

Will your insurance company be there when you need it?

Unfortunately, this type of bad behavior by insurance companies happens all the time. You have been faithfully paying your premiums assuming that your carrier will protect you in the event of a loss. A denied life insurance claim can leave surviving family members without necessary finances. A denied long-term disability claim can mean you have no way to meet your financial obligations.

If your carrier has denied your insurance claim, learn about your legal options.

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