Dealing with property damage is stressful enough without the added challenge of navigating insurance claims. The situation becomes even more complicated when the insurance company denies your claim, leaving you at square one. However, you don’t have to accept the denial as the final answer. Instead, use the following tips to get your property damage covered.
Understand Your Policy
Your policy outlines all your insurance coverage terms, conditions, and exclusions. It’s best to familiarize yourself with it before signing up and again before filing a claim. But if you haven’t done that, there’s no better time than now.
Read through the paperwork to clearly understand what is covered and what isn’t. If anything seems unclear, call your insurance company for additional information and document that call. Then, use your knowledge of the policy to build a strong case.
Documentation can mean the difference between getting your insurance claim approved or denied. It’s the backbone of any insurance claim, so start documenting from the moment you notice the damage.
Gather witness statements, take photos of the damage, and write down everything you can remember about the incident. Don’t leave any details out. The more evidence you have, the harder it will be for the insurance company to deny your claim.
Staying organized is critical to properly navigating the insurance claim process without missteps. In addition to your documentation, there will be tons of paperwork and photos to keep track of.
Keep everything organized by creating a dedicated file folder and digital space to store all the related photos, documents, and correspondence. Label everything with the item name and date to ensure quick and easy retrieval when you need it. This will help make the process much smoother for you and any legal representatives you hire to present your case.
Get a Second Opinion
When your claim gets denied, it usually comes down to the data and other findings the insurance company’s adjuster presents. Since they’re there to represent the insurance company, consider getting a second opinion from an independent adjuster or specialist.
The independent adjuster will need to evaluate the damage in person, review your documentation, and gather other information to provide their insights. During that process, they can see things the insurance company’s adjuster missed or misinterpreted, including the damage’s extent and cost.
Clear communication with your insurance company, independent adjuster, and legal representatives is crucial when handling your claim. To get the best results, you must remain calm, concise, and assertive through all communications.
When you receive notice of the claim denial, ask the insurance company for their reasoning. They should provide a detailed explanation and answer any questions you may have. Also, plan to share all relevant info with the necessary parties to fight against the denial and come to an agreement.
Know Your Rights
As an insurance policyholder, you have rights. Your specific rights depend on your local insurance laws and regulations. Familiarize yourself with them to understand where you stand and assess if you’ve been treated fairly.
If you feel your claim was denied without adequate cause, you can file a complaint with your state’s insurance commissioner. Depending on your location, you may need to call them or simply complete the paperwork online. They’ll respond within a set time limit to let you know their findings and how to proceed.
While you can work with your insurance company directly to resolve an unjust claims denial, it doesn’t always work out. If you cannot get anywhere with that approach, it might be better to go through mediation.
The mediation process involves a neutral third party helping both sides come to an agreement. It’s often less expensive than going through court, but it’s not always a viable option. Many insurance policies have a mediation clause that prevents this action, so read your policy documents carefully.
Seek Legal Advice
Whether you’ve exhausted all avenues or prefer to leave this process to the professionals, it might be time to seek legal advice. An attorney who specializes in insurance claims has the knowledge and experience needed to assess your situation and see if you might have a case.
You’ll need to set up a consultation appointment where they’ll review your case and all supporting documentation. The attorney will advise you on the best course of action and provide representation if you decide to sue your insurance company.
If you’d like support in navigating insurance company claims and denials, our team at The Schwartz Law Firm may be able to help. As a full-service litigation law firm, we can provide expert guidance and representation throughout the property damage claims process. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t have to pay a fee unless you win. Call us at (813) 226-3372 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.