1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Bad Faith Insurance
  4.  | Your obligation to mitigate damages after a storm

Your obligation to mitigate damages after a storm

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Bad Faith Insurance

Pennsylvania gets its fair share of bad storms. The state gets roughly 16 tornadoes a year, and countless other storms with high winds, hail and torrential rains

Tornado or not, all bad storms can take their toll on residential and commercial properties alike. While insurance is supposed to be there to make sure that your losses as a property owner are covered, insurance companies aren’t exactly happy to pay large claims. That’s why it is so important to understand your duty to mitigate your losses.

What does that mean?

Almost all property insurance policies require the insured to “take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage.” In other words, you have to attempt to stop your losses from compounding – or the insurance company may very well refuse to pay for any damage they say happened after the storm was over.

So, what does mitigating further damage to your property look like? It depends on the situation, but it may entail:

  • Covering broken windows or broken glass doors with plywood
  • Tarping damaged roofs or any part of the building that now has holes
  • Shutting off the utilities, if there is flooding, a gas leak or any similar issue
  • Taking steps to secure the property against theft or vandalism 

Even if you do take these steps, the insurance company may try to say that you could have done more, especially if they’re acting in bad faith. To make sure that you protect your interests, document every step you take to mitigate your losses with a written record, receipts, photos and videos. (Track those receipts so that you can submit them with your insurance claim, too.)

Migrating your own losses is both a practical necessity and a legal obligation after a storm does damage to your property – but insurance companies don’t always fulfill their end of the bargain even when policyholders do everything right. If this happens to you, it may be time to explore your legal options.