Since 1955, homeowners insurance has helped owners protect their property and belongings against damages and theft. According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 93% of homeowners in the US have homeowners insurance coverage, paying around $1,585 per year to protect their homes. On average, 1 in 20 homes files an insurance claim each year, allowing homeowners across the country to cover total losses greater than 56 billion U.S. dollars.
But what if you have reported losses and damages and your homeowners insurance company denies you coverage? You may be eligible for an insurance dispute to help you claim the benefits you are owed. Learn about the legal options to explore to protect your home in this guide by Aldrich Legal Services.
Common Reasons for Homeowners Insurance Claim Denials
Homeowners insurance policies are designed to provide you with monetary reimbursements to cover the cost of unexpected losses and damages. Depending on the policy, these could be related to home damage (hail, wind, fire, water, and lightning, sometimes also mold and rust), personal property (furniture, electronics), and even liability or injury.
However, sometimes, it is possible for your claim to be denied. In this case, you will receive a formal letter from your insurance company explaining why your claim has been denied.
Some common reasons for claim denial include:
- The damage is beyond the policy’s coverage
- You have filed your claim after the deadline specified in your policy (usually a 30-day period)
- You have not paid all of your premiums
- The insurance company suspects insurance fraud on your part
Understanding the Insurance Dispute Process
The first step is to call a trusted attorney to help you navigate the often complex process of insurance disputes. An attorney can help you compare the explanation from your insurance company with your policy and then represent you in any further dealings with the company, avoiding common pitfalls and fighting for your due compensation. The process usually involves the following steps.
Submitting a Complaint
If you are a policyholder in good standing and you have filed a legitimate claim without delay, your insurance company is required to reimburse your losses. Unfortunately, if your claim is denied, it can be hard to convince insurance adjusters to reverse their verdict. That’s where your attorney comes in—they know the steps to take to increase the chances of a positive outcome.
If you can prove that the insurance company hasn’t fulfilled its obligations, you can bring your evidence to your agent or adjuster. Alternatively, you might file a formal complaint with your local insurance commissioner.
Filing an Appeal
Filing an appeal is a good next step if you haven’t gotten the outcome you want from filing a complaint with your agent or insurance company’s claim adjuster.
During a claim appeal, the insurance company will review the denied claim, as well as the supporting evidence that you have been able to provide that proves why your home damages should be covered.
If you have opted to file an appeal against denial of coverage, there are two important factors to keep in mind:
- There is usually a deadline for filing an appeal, which is specified in your homeowners insurance policy. Make sure you act quickly after receiving the letter of denial from your insurer.
- The clearer and better organized your evidence, the more likely you will be to get a fair review of your claim.
Filing a Lawsuit
As a last resort, you might consider filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. If you have decided on this option, keep in mind that you should never undertake the journey without the help of a professional. At Aldrich Legal Services, we’ll do everything we can to resolve the issue before we get to this step, but if we need to, we’re always ready to go the distance with you.
Partner With a Real Estate Lawyer
From the beginning of your insurance dispute to the very end, you should partner with an expert who knows how these insurance companies operate. With expert representation from Aldrich Legal Services, you can navigate insurance claims disputes with years of expertise on your side. Our attorneys know the tactics insurance companies use to try to avoid paying out claims, and they will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Don’t Try to Handle Insurance Disputes Alone. Call Aldrich Legal Services in Plymouth, MI, and Ann Arbor, MI Today.
Insurance companies are known to twist words to try to get homeowners to admit fault and avoid paying out benefits. At Aldrich Legal Services, we are deeply familiar with the tactics these companies use—we can represent you in all dealings with your insurance company to protect you from these pitfalls. Before you talk to your insurance company, call Aldrich Legal Services!