5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know (But Should Know) About Your Homeowner’s Insurance

1. Coverage for Tort Claims – Many policies automatically include coverage for you or a family member who resides in the same household for tort claims filed against you.  Make sure to check your policy if you find yourself in this unfortunate position.

2. “Replacement Value” isn’t Paid Until You Replace the Item – Most polices won’t pay you “replacement value” until you actually replace the item.  What they pay you is the “actual value” (“fair market value” minus depreciation).  Then, and only then, if you replace the item, they will pay you the remainder.  Here is an example of why this is unfair:

Assume your house burns down and everything in it is destroyed (“complete loss”).  The insurance adjuster comes out and determines the “actual case value” of everything in the house.  The adjuster determines that your refrigerator’s “actual cash value” (factoring in depreciation for age, condition, etc.) is $200, but the cost to replace it (“replacement value”) is $800.   He then hands you a check for $200 and tells you that you need to come up with the remaining $600 and go buy the refrigerator before he will write you another check for the same $600.  He then proceeds to go through all your destroyed possessions and do the same thing.  By the time he’s done, he’s written you a check for $25,000 for $150,000 worth of destroyed items leaving you to figure out a way to pay the rest before he kicks in the rest.

Keep in mind that you are paying a higher premium for a “replacement cost” policy.  So why do insurance companies do this? Because they know most people won’t replace the item because they can’t afford to.  Why can’t they afford to?  Because the insurance company won’t pay them the “replacement cost” up front, leaving you holding the bag.

And no, I’m not making this stuff up.

3. Don’t Trust Your Adjuster’s “Depreciation” Analysis – This is where insurance companies really hammer you.  Whenever you have a loss, adjusters come in an depreciate everything in your house, including your actual house (structure).  They use their own internal depreciation schedules to come up with these values (see #3 above). DO NOT TRUST THEIR DEPRECIATION DETERMINATION. Challenge the adjuster on these schedules.  Demand to see the depreciation schedule he/she used FOR EACH ITEM HE/SHE DEPRECIATED.  And, don’t let the adjuster tell you that he’s not allowed to send you the schedules – because thats crap.  You are entitled to see the schedule and know exactly how much each item is being depreciated.

We recently represented a couple from Florida who had a vacation home here in Georgia. Their Georgia home burned down and was a complete loss.  The adjuster initially tried to tell me that their home and possessions were worth only $60,000 factoring in depreciation.  After jumping through six months of hoops, the insurance company finally relented and paid $140,000 for the loss.  If they will do it to me, they will do it to you.

4. In the Event of a Loss, Read your Policy Closely – I can’t stress this one enough.  The first thing you need to do after a loss is get a copy your policy and go over it with a fine tooth comb. One of the main ways insurance companies avoid paying you for your loss is by claiming you “failed to cooperate” or failed to provide the required notice.  I would highly recommend immediately taking your policy to a lawyer who handles these types of cases for review.  This is not a time to figure it out on your own.

Almost every policy requires that you provide written notice of the loss within a certain time period (typically 30 days) after the loss.  This notice is normally required to be sent on a specific form, sent to a specific address, and itemizing the items destroyed to include estimated values. Don’t send it on the right form – claim denied.  Don’t provided all the required information – claim denied.  Send it a day late – claim denied. Remember, insurance companies don’t make money paying claims.  Give them a reason, and they will deny your claim.

Once you provided the required written notice, then be prepared for the dog and pony show. You may be required to: itemize everything in your home, provide the date every item was purchased, provide the amount paid for every item, provide the condition of every item, give a recorded statement the adjuster or their lawyer, tell them whether or not you have ever had a claim on any other policy, give them financial information (bank statements, credit card statements, etc.), as well as a host of other information.  God forbid the adjuster “suspects” foul play, as the list of hoops you will have to jump through will grow exponentially.  And, if you don’t do everything they require, claim denied for “failure to cooperate.”

5. Insurance Companies Routinely Increase the Value of Your Home, Increasing Your Premiums – Keep an eye on this.  Because home value fluctuate, and because your premium is largely based on the value of your home, monitor the value the insurance company places on your home. Make sure it coincides with the actual value of your home based upon the market.  It it doesn’t, let the insurance company know and demand a correction.

Let me know if you have any questions about your policy. I’m happy to review it free of charge and point out the important areas you need to be mindful of.  While most polices have similar standard language, all policies will differ to some degree. Similarly, not all insurance companies are created equally. Some are especially more problematic than others.

Nathan T. Williams





Death Suspected in Recalled Lots of NaturaLyte Liquid Bicarbonate Concentrate

Recall Fresenius


Fresenius Medical Care North America issued a recall for certain lots of NaturaLyte Liquid Bicarbonate Concentrate, 6.4 liters.  NaturaLyte is drug used in hemodialysis machines.  Laboratory test identified a Gram Negative bacteria (Halomonas).  The FDA issued recall notices on May 21 and May 28th of this year.  The FDA has received one report of death and two reports of injuries suspected to be related to the infected drug.  The FDA further stated that the affected product could cause serious adverse health consequences, including sepsis, bacteremia, and death.

You can find the FDA recall notices here:



Nathan T. Williams


574 People Sick in 27 States from Chicken



The CDC just reported that 574 people in 27 states have reported salmonella relating to chicken from Foster Farms (http://www.fosterfarms.com/).  One of these has been linked to a man in Georgia.  Thirty-seven (37) percent have been reportedly hospitalized and 13% have developed blood infections.  No deaths have been reported thus far.

Whats strange about this incident is the fact that the original outbreak was reported over a year ago – March 1, 2013 – and that many of the people interviewed said that they had gotten sick from newly purchased chicken – not chicken that had been previously purchased and frozen.

You can read a good article on this at http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/05/cdc-50-new-cases-of-salmonella-linked-to-foster-farms/#.U4Xf4pRdWzu.  Food Safety News is an excellent site to monitor similar incidents.

Please let us know if you believe you have suffered an illness relating to Foster Farms.


Some Doctors Ignoring FDA Advice to Stop Using Power Morcellators

FDA Warning

The Wall Street Journal (5/22, A1, Levitz, Kamp, Subscription Publication, 5.51M) reported that the FDA has discouraged Doctors from using power morcellators to remove uterus and uterine fibroids.  The agency had warned against using the procedure because of concerns it could accidentally spread cancer to other parts of the body.

A morcellator is a surgical instrument used for division (“morcellation“) and removal of large masses of tissues during laparoscopic surgery

This comes in the wake of Johnson & Johnson suspending worldwide sales its power morcellators on April 30, 2014.

If you have to to undergo laparoscopic surgery for removal of uterus and uterine fibroids, make sure you confirm with your doctor that he/she is not planning on using a power morcellator.

Nathan T. Williams


Removal of Faulty Mesh May Not Solve Women’s Problems

In the 1990’s, doctors began using mesh implants to give extra support to a woman’s organs after organ prolapse surgery.  Shortly after surgeons began using these mesh implants, the FDA began receiving a large number of complaints and problems attributable to the mesh. Most of these problems involved infection, mesh erosion, bleeding and pain.  In April 2014, the FDA reclassified many mesh implants as “high-risk” and stated it would now require stricter oversight of the products.

Many injured patients have taken their cases to court. There are currently over 49.000 pending federal lawsuits against seven different mesh manufacturers. The manufacturers with the most cases are American Medical Systems, Ethicon, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Coloplast, Cook Medical and Neomedic.

Now, it has been reported that removal of the faulty mesh may not improve patient’s symptoms.  A study of 214 women conducted by the University of California found that 1/3 of women who had the mesh removed still experienced moderate to severe pain.  It also found that 28% of those women still experienced urine leakage on a daily basis and pain during sex.

At this point, it appears that many women will continue to suffer from mesh implants long after removal.

Please let us know if you or someone you love has experienced any problems with vaginal mesh implants.  We can help.

Nathan T. Williams

FDA Warns of Lunesta Causing Next-Day Impairment – Reports Drugs.com

FDA just issued a warning to healthcare professionals that Lunesta can cause lingering effects resulting in next-day impairment.  The FDA has recommended that doctors advise patients to decrease their starting dose of Lunesta to 1 mg at bedtime.  Both women and men have been reported to be equally effected. The previous recommended dosage of Lunesta was 3 mg which was found to possibly effect a patients driving skills, memory,  and coordination up to eleven hours after taking a nightly dose.

To read the entire article from Drugs.com click here: http://www.drugs.com/fda/eszopiclone-containing-sleep-aids-safety-communication-can-cause-next-day-impairment-13545.html?utm_source=ddc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FDA+Alert+-+Drug+Safety+Communication%3A+Eszopiclone+Containing+Sleep+Aids+-+Can+Cause+Next-Day+Impairment

To read the FDA’s Safety Announcement click here: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm397260.htm


Nathan T. Williams, Attorney at Law



Pradaxa (dabigatran): Drug Safety Communication – Lower Risk for Stroke and Death, but Higher Risk for GI Bleeding Compared to Warfarin

New FDA Medwatch Alert
May 13, 2014
Pradaxa (dabigatran): Drug Safety Communication – Lower Risk for Stroke and Death, but Higher Risk for GI Bleeding Compared to Warfarin


Audience: Cardiology, Patient, Pulmonology, Internal Medicine, Orthopedics, Neurology.
ISSUE: The FDA recently completed a new study in Medicare patients comparing Pradaxa to warfarin, for risk of ischemic or clot-related stroke,  bleeding in the brain, major gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, myocardial infarction (MI), and death. The new study included information from more than 134,000 Medicare patients, 65 years or older, and found that among new users of blood-thinning drugs, Pradaxa was associated with a lower risk of clot-related strokes, bleeding in the brain, and death, than warfarin. The study also found an increased risk of major gastrointestinal bleeding with use of Pradaxa as compared to warfarin. The MI risk was similar for the two drugs.