A tree goes through your roof. A leaking pipe ruins your floor. A fire destroys your house. Homeowners insurance claims vary by damage and severity, but they are all tied to families who want their homes restored to their former glory.
After severe damage to the home, some people live in temporary housing or under tarps, while others make the repairs and live in debt. Either way, a home insurance claim denial can be catastrophic for hard-working families. If you recently filed a home insurance claim and it was denied, follow these steps to see if you can get the compensation you need.
1. Get it in writing.
Insurance companies are supposed to explain, in writing, why your claim is being denied. But often you’ll get a quick call from an adjuster instead. Insist that the reason for the denial be put in writing. Ask on the phone, but follow up in writing too by sending an e-mail or a letter. Sometimes when the insurance company has to justify its position, they will change it. Even if that doesn’t happen, at least you’ll be able to see what the insurance company believes the issues are.
2. Know the different reasons for denying a claim.
Review the rejection to see if the insurance company provided a reason for the denial. There are a few common terms that a company will use when denying your claim. These include:
- Not a covered peril: the damage was caused by something your home is not insured for (like flood damage).
- Excluded cause of loss: the policy has an exclusion that removes coverage for the type of damage the insurance company says you have.
- Below deductible: the cost to repair your home according to the insurance company is less than your deductible.
- Waiting too long to file a claim: the insurance company says by not reporting the claim on time, it is unable to investigate it and must deny it
It’s harder to defend your claim if you don’t know why it was rejected. Knowing these terms can help you build your case.
3. Ask for a reinspection or second opinion.
If you think the adjuster or the engineer hired by the insurance company came to the wrong conclusion, ask for a second opinion. Make your house available for another inspection, and ask that the insurance company send a different person to look at your damage. A new perspective can sometimes change a denied claim to a covered claim.
Throughout this process, document the responses from the insurance company. Get everything in writing if possible, especially if you talk to different representatives. This will help you keep the information straight and hold the company to its word.
4. Contact your state’s insurance commissioner.
When your insurer still refuses to help you, you can consider reaching out to your local government or insurance commissioner for help. The Department of Financial Services in Florida has an official complaint form for insurance companies, and there are similar ones across the rest of the country. Their job is to intervene and make sure insurance companies are treating customers fairly. They won’t fight a denied claim for you, but they sometimes will force an insurance company to communicate with you.
5. Consult an attorney about filing a claim dispute.
If you keep hitting roadblock after roadblock with the insurance company, seek help from a professional. Gather as much information as possible, including records of calls and emails, and consult an attorney. The more details you can provide the better, as we can use that information to build a case in your favor.
Working with a professional can make the claim filing process easier. Herman & Wells takes a hands-on approach to working with clients and specializes in insurance disputes. You don’t have to be an insurance expert to win your claim. We can help you get the payment you need.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our team members to review your case and take the first steps to get the insurance payment you need.