Raccoons and the word games insurers play

New York Daily News

PUBLISHED ON: July 6, 2022

What’s worse: raccoons in your home, or your home insurance company shorting you on a claim? Unfortunately, as with most causes of damage to a home, dealing with the first often entails dealing with the second. And the raccoons are cuter.

By day (and sometimes night too), I represent businesses in coverage disputes with their insurance companies — in claims with millions or tens of millions of dollars at stake. Insurance companies’ endless creativity in finding ways to evade coverage is all in a day’s work. But my own small homeowner’s claim brought home the angst that insurance companies’ routine parsing of a claim generates for individuals — whether the claim is for $5,000, $50,000 or $500,000.

Last summer, my wife and I discovered we were sharing our home with a raccoon. In short order, an animal removal service ushered the critter out of our attic via a one-way door — for $1,786. That’s below our home insurance deductible of $2,500, so it became just one of those unexpected homeowner’s expenses.

But this spring, the raccoon came back — this time as an expectant mother. Out goes another $7,000 to get mom and the babies out. Time to file a claim.

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Strong is a shareholder in Anderson Kill’s New York and Philadelphia offices.