People pay their homeowner’s insurance premiums month after month and year after year hoping that disaster doesn’t strike – but if it does, their insurance policy will compensate them financially. There may come a time when you must file a property damage claim with your insurer, and end up disagreeing with the company over home repairs and damages. They may even deny your claim outright. It is your right to reject their settlement amount and disagree with the insurance company’s estimates. Claim disputes are common occurrences; if the insurance company doesn’t adjust the estimate appropriately, you can use certain methods to dispute the claim or the claim denial.
What If My Insurer Denies My Claim?
If you think your claim has been wrongfully denied or the insurer is offering an unfair payout, there are options to try. Your general strategy should be to offer additional evidence for the case and escalate the dispute, but only if the cons are outweighed by the potential pros.
Steps To Take When Disputing A Claim Denial
Here are some steps you can take if your insurer unfairly denies or values a claim.
- Reach back out to your agent or insurer: Review the initial claim you filed and think of ways to improve the quality of evidence illustrating loss or damage, which can significantly impact the settlement. For example, you can take more and better photos to support the amount you claimed. Organize all evidence such as repair estimates and receipts and then speak to your company about having your claim reviewed again based on new evidence.
- Have a third-party appraisal: If you still don’t think the insurance company is being fair, consider bringing in a public insurance adjuster. Remember, if the discrepancy between the claim settlement is equal to or less than how much the appraisal costs, you should probably take the settlement. The new estimate either confirms your insurance company’s settlement offer or gives leverage for raising it.
- If the independent estimate confirms the insurance company lowballed or unfairly denied your claim and you can’t reach an agreement with your insurer, you can either file a complaint with the state or take action with an attorney. You can report mistreatment or bad business practices to the state insurance department, which will investigate the claim. Generally, they evaluate whether the complaint is valid, and will mediate a fairer resolution with the insurer. They may also recommend an attorney, but they don’t cover those costs. This means you need to weigh the costs and benefits of hiring an attorney since you will have to pay their consultation fee and retainer. Typically this step is only for larger claim denials and disputes.
Disputing Natural Disaster Claims
Remember that natural disasters typically result in a huge influx of simultaneous claims, making it difficult for insurers to respond on time. This is why state insurance departments have specific time limits for insurance companies to acknowledge and respond, but this period may be extended following a natural disaster.
Contact Us Today
If you believe your homeowner’s insurance claim was unfairly evaluated or denied, you may need to take legal action after all other options have been tried. Call Craig Rolle, Esq. to speak with a skilled Florida insurance attorney today.