One of the hardest, annoying, yet necessary things each property owner has to encounter is dealing with their insurer due to the several payments and repairs/ maintenance costs. Unfortunately, insurers are inherently cunning and tricky and would love to reduce their claim burden as often as possible; after all, they are in business to make profits.
Today we focus on a common consumer complaint that is especially relevant, given all of the destruction from Hurricane Katrina: what to do when your homeowner’s insurance company denies your claim.
If you have made a claim on your homeowners insurance — and it has been denied — do not give up. There ARE some things you can do to keep the claim active and try to reverse the decision.
This will most likely be especially true for the next year or two as insurance adjusters, and company representatives are exceptionally busy.
Sourced from: http://www.scambusters.org/homeownersinsurance.html
Therefore, due to this misguided notion of insurance companies, most claims will end up denied. Luckily, there are some choices, preparations, and things you can do to ensure that your claim passes through without problems even after a denial; you just have to try again and this time more prepared.
- Be Thorough: The home insurance claim process reviews the extent and cause of the damage to your home or property. Make sure you are thorough when you describe the damage and the cause, but only stick to facts! You do not need to add your opinion!
Additionally, be thorough by paying attention to deadlines, filling out all the necessary forms, and being in touch with the insurance company. Do not let a simple oversight jeopardize your home insurance claim!
- Try to be present for any inspections of the damage: Whether the insurance adjuster visits your home or sends an independent inspector, it may be in your best interest to be there as well. You can answer any questions, and prevent an outside party from jumping to conclusions. If you are unable to be present, request a copy of any report as soon as possible.
- Do not get forced into a settlement! Do not be talked into a home insurance claim settlement or agreement just because you are sick of the process. Be patient, be firm, and get the home insurance check you deserve.
- Know your rights under the home insurance policy! Read through your policy, and make sure your company does what it is supposed to do. Whether you are owed alternate living arrangements, or the company is responsible for any damage inspection, be aware of what rights you have and exercise them.
- Make sure your claim is filed properly: Get a claim number, a contact name and a phone number for your insurance claims adjuster.
- Document EVERYTHING! As you go through the process of filing a home insurance claim, you will be in frequent communication with the company. It is important that you keep every document that you exchange with the company, and take detailed notes of any conversation that you have. You need to be diligent in recording and documenting the process.
- Stay on top of the insurance company: Your insurance claims adjuster can have multiple cases and may not be as responsive as you need them to be. While this is not a sign that the company is intentionally delaying your claim, it is something that you should prevent. Make sure you stay in regular contact with the company through the home insurance claim process.
- Work with the company, but do not get pushed around: If you feel like you are owed for losses that you can prove occurred, do not accept short payment from the company. You can always dispute an insurance settlement if you can prove you are owed more damages.
- Be Honest: Do not lie on a home insurance claim. Not only will your claim be denied, but you can face legal consequences.
It is important to note that some of the reasons insurers are so strict is the fact that some clients are dishonest. Such that during the inspections, the evaluator may note some inconsistencies in your claim that will lead to a denial. The following tips will help make the process easier for everyone.
- When you arrange your insurance, make sure you know exactly what you need and what risks you have.
- Make sure you know what your insurance covers. There are different definitions of accidental damage, for example. If you think, the form is not clear, ask your insurer or broker for more clarity.
- Disclose everything the insurer asks. If you have a criminal conviction, for example, and you do not disclose the fact, it could invalidate your claim.
- Beware of underinsuring your property. There are likely to be penalties if you have clearly underinsured your home by a significant amount.
- The building’s insurance value should also include professional fees and alternative accommodation and cover VAT, removals, storage and returns in the event of a claim.
- Photograph your jewellery and furniture. Identify personal items worth more than specific limits, such as jewellery, antiques, stamps and coins.
- Make sure you have five-lever security locks, which are often required for home insurance, window locks that are fully operational and a burglar alarm that is installed and maintained by a contractor approved by Nacoss, the certification body.
- Get your home and contents valued every three to five years.
- Be honest. Fraud is a concern for insurers, especially with the rise of online applications.
- Check that there is a clause in your policy that covers gifts over the Christmas period, and an allowance for new goods over the course of the year.
- If you face a large claim, hire a professional to help negotiate on your behalf.
Of course, sometimes the claim is significant and involves numerous clients, which means that the insurance company will try to reduce the number of claims they will accept. In such cases of an enormous claim, it is best to hire a professional like an insurance lawyer to help in the negotiations.
If the home insurance claim process begins to get complicated and the money you deserve is at risk of being denied, you may want to consider consulting an experienced attorney. When the company unreasonably delays your payout, offers you a settlement amount that is inadequate, or denies your home insurance claim, then you need to reach out to an attorney immediately.