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What to do if your insurance claim is denied

The unthinkable has happened: things took a turn for the worst, and your home has now suffered some serious damage that will cost some serious cash to repair.  You turn to your home insurance company, only to find out they have no intention of honoring your claim.  What do you do now? 

You may have the urge to lash out at your insurance company, verbally or worse.  That’s completely understandable, but please don’t.  Acting on anger is never a good idea, and it’s definitely not going to help your case.  So punch a pillow, complain to a friend, have a cry if necessary… and once you’ve calmed down, take these steps for a chance to rectify the situation.  

Re-Familiarize Yourself With Your Policy

Surely you became very well-versed in the fine details of your contract prior to signing it (or at least, we hope you did)… but now is the time to look it over again and make sure either you or the insurance provider didn’t overlook anything or make a mistake.  Reasons for being denied can often be attributed to confusion over what qualifies for it, such as a fire caused by a lightning strike vs. a fire that was caused because you left the stove on.  

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Clarification

Your adjuster is not infallible to error, and they may or may not be great  at explaining their position.  If you are going to appeal the denial, it’s very important to know what exactly it is that you’re denying.  It’s also possible that, upon fully understanding why you were denied, you realize they misunderstood you.  Clarification on behalf of both parties is crucial.  

File The Appeal

If you 100% understand the situation and you still feel your claim is valid, then the next step is to file the appeal.  Get the appropriate paperwork from your insurance company, fill it out as promptly as possible, and include as many details and as much evidence as you can with your appeal.  Be patient, and be willing to wait on the verdict.  Your insurance provider may drag their feet and this could take a while.  Be sure to ask for a resolution deadline for your case from your provider, and if they still haven’t resolved your case by that deadline, follow up with them.  

What If They Deny My Appeal? 

If your insurance company denies your appeal or fails to resolve it, you may be able to take further action by speaking to superior managers at the company or filing a complaint with your state’s insurance commissioner.  If you’re willing and able to spend the money, you may also consider hiring an attorney.

Learn From The Experience

After everything is said and done, make sure you note what happened, what went right, what didn’t, and learn what you can do to avoid this situation in the future.  Some tips for that would be to make sure you understand all the situations your policy is obligated to cover, the importance of documenting everything you can when something bad happens, taking care of the issue as quickly as possible and taking the steps necessary to safeguard your home against situations you aren’t covered for.  

The best way to ensure you know exactly what your policy covers and prevent having to deal with this type of situation in the first place is to make sure you’re covered by a reputable insurance provider, you know exactly what’s in your policy and that you’re insured for all the right things and for the right amounts.  A knowledgeable insurance agent can help you do this, and considering the importance of getting everything right, it’s worth getting in touch with one asap.  Just answer a few simple questions and you can get started today.

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