If you’ve suffered damage from a hurricane or flooding that was covered by your homeowners insurance, you may be shocked to learn that your claim has been denied. Don’t panic; there are plenty of steps you can take to resolve the issue with your homeowners insurance company and receive compensation for the damage sustained to your home or personal property. Here’s what to do if your homeowners insurance claim is denied.
Stage One: Getting an Insurance Claims Adjuster
If you have a homeowners insurance claim denied, there’s usually no need to panic. All insurers typically have some form of appeal process, which could result in getting a call from an adjuster about your case—but not always. If you do end up hearing from an adjuster, there are some tips on how to handle what can be a daunting process: 1) You shouldn’t hire a lawyer at any stage of proceedings; 2) Don’t start gathering evidence or contact witnesses yourself unless told otherwise by an adjuster; 3) Be prepared for adjustments and counteroffers (but don’t accept them); 4) Give every answer seriously—don’t get angry and stay calm! Stage Two: Taking Your Case to Court: If your insurer won’t budge after negotiations, you might have to take legal action. In most cases, homeowners who go through litigation with their insurer will win out in court—even if they lose their first round of appeals. However, it’s important to note that going through litigation can take months and cost thousands of dollars in legal fees. It also takes a toll on people emotionally and mentally—so make sure it’s really worth it before proceeding down such a path.
Stage Two: Reporting the Homeowners Insurance Claim Online
To submit a homeowners insurance claim denied, call your insurer or go online and file a report on their website. Not all insurers have their own websites, but instead work with an independent third-party website for reporting and filing claims; even then, you’ll be able to check out specific policies, which may help you as you move into stage three of processing an insurance claim. No matter which way you choose to file a report or complaint (online or over the phone), always make sure that they have all of your information, including policy numbers and phone numbers—and take notes! You’re going to want those numbers later when dealing with potential issues concerning timing and payment of claims.
Stage Three: Notify All Lenders and Mortgage Companies of Your Homeowners Claim Denial
It’s a good idea to notify all mortgage companies that you are going through a homeowners claim denial with your current homeowners insurance provider. You may want to obtain additional quotes or work directly with different mortgage companies, but be sure you notify any lender that has financing on your home immediately so they can proceed accordingly as well. If there are other loans on top of your primary one, some lenders will not allow an over-sized loan and others will require lower interest rates until you are cleared by all insurers involved in a homeowners claim denial. Mortgage holders can sometimes get more for their money and different interest rates during times like these; it should never be overlooked when facing a homeowners claim denial from an insurer.
Stage Four: Homeowners Insurance Dispute Settlement Options
If you feel that an insurer has acted unfairly, then it’s time to appeal. Although we always encourage people to make every effort for a friendly resolution, at some point you’ll likely need legal intervention and a dispute settlement option. You might even need homeowners insurance attorneys (or lawyers) involved on your behalf, so don’t be afraid of reaching out for help—there are ways that insurers can respond fairly during a dispute settlement process. There are three main categories of homeowners insurance dispute settlement options: arbitration, mediation, and litigation. Let’s look at each in detail… Here are some things to keep in mind as you work through homeowners insurance claim denied: Don’t forget about independent claims adjusters: Remember that independent claims adjusters offer another level of oversight. Before moving forward with an appeal or filing a lawsuit against your insurer, give them a chance to resolve any issues you may have.
Stage Five: The Legal Option – Homeowners Insurance Dispute Lawyer
When homeowners have their claims denied, they have several options available; they can either pay for damage out-of-pocket, or try and recover damages from their insurer with a dispute/lawsuit. Obviously, when a lawsuit enters into play, you need an attorney on your side who has experience handling homeowner’s insurance claims disputes—look for an attorney whose past cases include successful disputes for both property and personal damage. Most homeowners are shocked by how much money they can actually recoup in these types of lawsuits—and even more surprised that it doesn’t take years of litigation to get there. The best part about hiring a lawyer? You don’t have to worry about doing all of the legwork yourself! Your lawyer will handle all of that while you focus on recovering from your loss.
Stage Six: Final Thoughts on Dealing with Homeowners Insurance Claim Denials
While homeowners insurance claim denied are frustrating, they’re not uncommon; less than 25% of first-time claims submitted by private individuals are fully reimbursed by their insurer. In fact, for insurers, every dollar paid out in homeowners claims is one that isn’t being made back with premiums—which means claims need to be thoroughly investigated before they can be paid out (and many don’t pass muster). If you think you have been wrongly denied a homeowners reimbursement, don’t give up—that said, it might take weeks or even months of arguing and negotiations to get a final answer. To help expedite things and increase your chance of reimbursement (or at least getting closer), these tips can help
• Ask for an explanation: The worst thing you can do after receiving a homeowners claim denial is nothing—while talking to your insurer may seem like a waste of time when they won’t budge on their decision, asking them why they denied your claim will help them better understand what happened and could lead to reconsideration down the line. Also ask whether there was anything else that could have been done differently (like fixing something more quickly) which would have led to a full payout. • File an appeal: Filing an appeal doesn’t always work but it does give you another shot at getting your homeowners insurance claim denied; most states require insurers to consider appeals within 60 days but some will extend that time frame if circumstances warrant it.