Insurance provides homeowners with peace of mind. In exchange for paying a monthly or yearly premium, they can sleep soundly knowing that if their home is damaged by a hurricane, tornado, fire or other catastrophe, their insurance policy will cover the damages.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Unfortunately, homeowners often discover that the insurance company is not always eager to hold up its end of the bargain. Even though insurance companies are required by law to honor all legitimate claims, they often look for any reason to avoid having to pay an insurance claim.
Common Reasons For Denied Homeowners Insurance Claims
Here are some common reasons insurance companies deny homeowners claims.
- Lack of coverage – Many people assume that a homeowners insurance policy covers any damage to the house. That is not always true. Insurance policies are written in a way to cover damage from specific occurrences and may exclude coverage for certain losses. For example, if your home was damaged in a flood from surface water, but you do not have a separate flood insurance policy issued by the National Flood Insurance Program, your claim may be denied. When purchasing an insurance policy, make sure you read the policy carefully so that you know what is covered.
- Failure to fulfill a condition of coverage – Some insurance policies have conditions that you must comply with in order for the insurance company to honor its agreement. For example, if you have not kept up with your premiums, your claim may be denied. There also may be conditions that require you to mitigate the damage to the home as much as possible.
- Falsified insurance application – The moment you file an insurance claim, the insurance company is likely to review your initial application in great detail. They will compare the information provided in that application with the information provided in your claim and identify inconsistencies. If the insurance company can find anything that appears to be falsified, exaggerated, or omitted on the initial application, it may be grounds for denial of your claim.
What You Can Do If Your Insurance Claim Is Denied
Many people receive a claim denial and give up hope. It is important to know that you have legal options available. An initial claim denial is by no means the end of the line.
Review the Denial Letter
The first thing to do is identify the reason for the denial. If the reason your claim was denied is not listed, contact your insurance company and demand they tell you why it was denied. The insurance company has a legal obligation to provide you with that information.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Next, review your policy carefully to determine what is covered. Remember, your policy is a legal document and the insurance company is required to honor it. After reviewing your policy, if you believe the insurance company improperly denied your claim, begin gathering evidence to support your position. This will include things like communications you have had with the insurance company and pictures of the damage to your home. The more evidence you have to support you position, the easier it will be to win your case.
File an Appeal
After compiling your evidence, you can file an appeal directly with your insurance company. There is no guarantee that the insurance company will reverse its decision. Regardless, it does not hurt to try.
File a Lawsuit
You may also file a lawsuit against the insurance company. To do so, consult with a qualified and experienced insurance attorney about your potential case. Your attorney can help you determine whether your claim was improperly denied and file a lawsuit on your behalf based on the applicable homeowner’s insurance laws in your state.
At Arnold & Itkin, our team of insurance attorneys has helped homeowners across the country fight claim denials and receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.