Homeowners insurance should provide a welcomed safety net in the event of a crisis. When the unexpected happens, you should be able to rely on your insurer for support as you rebuild. Unfortunately, many people contact lawyers describing how homeowners’ insurance denied their claim, wondering why it happened.
Because insurance companies must act in good faith when considering a claim, you can challenge the denial if it was not valid. To help you get started, here are some common reasons behind a denied homeowners insurance claim. When you are ready to get help, speak to a lawyer who knows how to help evaluate your claim.
1. Late Filing
Typically, you must file a claim with your insurance company promptly after an incident caused you damage. Though filing your claim in a timely manner may seem like a minor clerical detail, if the insurance company feels you waited too long, it may deny your claim on that basis. An insurance contract generally will state the time limit for filing a claim, though that language may be buried in the policy. An attorney can help you sort through boilerplate terms of an insurance policy to find the specific time limits for filing a claim.
2. Scope of Coverage
A homeowners’ insurance policy has several exclusions. Exclusions describe things not covered by the policy, and often are printed deep within an insurance contract. The company may claim the damage you suffered is due to a cause that falls outside the scope of coverage, and conclude it therefore can deny policy benefits. An attorney can help you navigate a complicated insurance contract to see if your claim should be covered.
3. Insufficient Documentation
Your insurance company requires proof of damage to process and approve your claim. It may not always be clear what kind of evidence it needs to support your claim, but some companies deny a claim even while you are confused as to why. Insurers themselves are supposed to investigate policyholders’ claims, but sometimes the company may be waiting for information from you. Working with a lawyer, it is easier to establish what the company needs to see and what documentation is required for a claim.
4. Failure to Mitigate
It is your responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent damage to your home and to take action after an incident to stop damage from getting worse. This is called mitigation. Insurance companies expect their insurance customers to mitigate damages, and your insurer might deny your claim if it appears you did not do enough to keep the damage from worsening.
5. False Statements
Typically, the insurance company will send an investigator to the scene. This investigator will gather evidence and statements, examine your property, and ask questions of people who may have witnessed the events that led to your claim. If the investigator determines the information on your claim is inconsistent with the investigator’s findings, the insurer may issue a denial.
Talk to a Lawyer
You do not have to face the insurance company alone. For more information on how to fight a homeowners insurance claim denial in South Dakota, contact Turbak Law at (866) 231-0914. We can help you take the next step on the path to protect your interests.