(WSVN) - A truck smashed through her fence. They had insurance to replace her fence, but the company kept stalling month after month. Can an insurance company stall in paying a claim? It’s why one South Florida woman called Help Me Howard.

When you walk into Evon’s house, you can’t miss what she calls her wall of fame.

Evon Whitaker: “My sisters, my sister-in-law, my children, grandchildren, great grands. That’s Miracle and Brodasia.”

Every day she sees every family member and every big event.

Evon Whitaker: “Family reunions, weddings. Makes you feel good.”

Inside makes her smile. Outside, right now, has Evon simmering.

Evon Whitaker: “Why they give me the runaround? They just need to fix the fence.”

Back in June, a truck smashed through her fence, destroying it. Sadly, the owner of the truck was killed.

Evon Whitaker: “He jackknife and went one way, and their truck went into the fence.”

The driver had insurance. Evon filed a claim with his company, and her battle began.

Evon Whitaker: “And every time I call him, he give me excuses after excuses: ‘We’re still investigating.'”

Evon was told to get estimates, one was $5,800 and one was $5,900.

Evon doesn’t have that much money, but she does need a fence for her Sistrunk Boulevard property.

Evon Whitaker: “This is not the greatest neighborhood in the world, but it’s not the worst neighborhood in the world, and I really want my fence back.”

After getting nowhere with the insurance company, Evon complained to the State of Florida.

Patrick Fraser: “What did they tell you?”

Evon Whitaker: “That, in so many words, they was telling me I needed a lawyer … and I cannot afford a lawyer.”

After seven months, Evon is now convinced she may never get her fence.

Evon Whitaker: “It’s frustrating. Aggravating, really. They’re trying to just keep pushing me off until I forget it, and I told them, I say, no, I’m never gonna stop.”

How long can an insurance company wait to pay a claim, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “First of all, they have at least 60 days to investigate the merits of the claim, and in some cases longer if it’s a complicated case, but this is not complicated at all. If the insurance company is dragging their feet after 60 days, let them know you are not giving up and will hire a lawyer to sue. That will cost the insurance company a lot more money because they have to pay you and your attorney’s legal fees.”

Evon was battling with Infinity Assurance Insurance Company.

I called Lemper, their parent company in Chicago.

A spokesperson wrote, “Typically, we aren’t able to process a claim until all required information is received from all parties. This can cause delays if there are multiple claimants involved.”

A few days later, Evon called me.

Evon Whitaker: “And they sent me a check out for $5,800. I am fixing to get my fence repaired as soon and quick as possible.”

Evon is smiling again after that call to Help Me Howard.

Evon Whitaker: “So I am so glad, and I thank you, Patrick, too. Tell Howard I say thank you. Y’all is a blessing.”

Thank you, Evon, and glad we could help.

Now, if you want to get a claim paid quicker, file with your insurance company because they normally take care of their customers. Of course, you have to pay a deductible and your rates may go up, so you have to decide which option to choose.

A problem left you fenced in? Wanna insure someone helps? Let us check out your claim and try to open the gate to a solution.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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