With hailstorms, fires, floods, and other natural disasters growing rampant, it’s wise to have homeowners insurance—in fact, it’s a must! So, you dot all of your i’s and cross all of your t’s, pay all of your premiums, talk with all of the people, and fill out all of that paperwork.
You think your home is fully covered in every area that you need it to be covered. You rest assured that you will be taken care of if tragedy strikes, but once your home is actually damaged, your insurance company denies your claim. Now you’re stuck with no way to repair your home, no funds to move, and no one to listen to you. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you think. The good news is there are a few things you can do to remedy a denied home insurance claim before and after the damage. Here is our best advice to homeowners submitting insurance claims in South Dakota.
Know Your Insurance Policy
Many people don’t realize the details of their homeowner’s insurance policy. There are certain components of your insurance contract that you should pay close attention to when you sign on the dotted line. Know your coverage, limits and deductibles, and review your policy again before submitting a claim. A common reason for denied claims is that the claim is out of the homeowner’s scope of coverage. For instance, some people don’t realize that flood insurance is separate from homeowners insurance. If your home floods and you have no flood policy, your homeowners claim will be denied. Deductibles and limits determine how much money you will have to pay out-of-pocket. Once you know your out-of-pocket costs, it’s important to decide which repairs and replacements are a priority and which ones can wait. If you fully understand your insurance policy before you submit your claim, you’ll be much more prepared.
Pro home insurance claims advice: know if your premiums are paid in cash value or at replacement cost. Likewise, did you know some policies require that you actually make the repairs before you are entitled to full payment of your claim? Can you afford to front contractors money while you wait for your mortgage lender to sign off on the check and deposit it?
Once you realize your home has damage, photograph everything from every angle. The more photos you have, the better. Make sure you take both interior and exterior photos of your home before you begin cleanup or repairs. Also, photograph any personal property that may have been damaged, including clothes, furniture, and electronic devices. The insurance company will need photos to process your claim and two things often happen – they shift their work of investigating the claim onto you. For things like personal property, this is time-consuming and frustrating. But, once you’ve thrown it away, the evidence is gone.
If you make repairs before the insurance adjuster comes to determine the extent of your damage, make sure you keep all of the receipts and document it. Many policies REQUIRE you to make temporary repairs to prevent additional damage. If your windows and skylights are broken, you should board them up so additional damage isn’t done while you are waiting for an adjuster.
Pro home insurance claims advice: If you don’t agree with the insurance adjuster’s estimate, you can go through a dispute or appeal process, or hire your own adjuster who will work with you through the entire procedure. STAY INVOLVED in the process, completely turning over your insurance claim to a contractor or public adjuster can be a recipe for trouble.
Fight Your Homeowners Insurance Claim Denial
If you’ve been denied, you still have options. The first step to knowing how to fight a denied homeowners insurance claim is knowing why the insurance company denied it in the first place. There are a few common reasons your claim could have been denied:
- Late filing – File your claim in a timely manner. Don’t wait around after your home has been damaged. The timeline for filing your homeowners claim will be detailed in your insurance policy. A South Dakota attorney can help you decipher your insurance policy.
- The scope of coverage – Homeowners insurance exclusions are often hidden within the insurance contract. Insurance companies can decide that your home damage resulted from an exclusion, which is a cause outside of your scope of coverage.
- Insufficient documentation – It’s not always clear what proof of damage you need to provide to your insurance company, and a claim can be denied if the insurance company did not receive all of the documentation it requested.
- Failure to mitigate – It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to take action to prevent damage before it happens and to mitigate damage before it worsens. If the insurance company decides that you could have prevented the damage from happening and/or getting worse, you could be denied.
- False statements – Sometimes, the insurance company will send an investigator to inspect your property and talk to witnesses who may have seen the incident. If the investigator finds that your claims are inconsistent with his findings, you could be denied.
Now that you know why your insurance company denied your South Dakota homeowners insurance claim, you will be better equipped to fight the denial of the claim.
Determine If Your Insurance Company is Treating You Fairly
If none of the above reasons exist in your case, your company could be acting in bad faith. Insurance companies are legally obligated to act in good faith and not expect the worst from the insured. If your claim has been denied without reason, your insurance company may be acting in bad faith. If you have reason to believe that to be the case, contact Turbak Law Office today.
Contact an Insurance Claim Denial Attorney to Help You
Our best homeowners insurance denial advice is to contact an attorney who can help you get the money you deserve to get your life back to normal after extensive home damage. Turbak insurance lawyers are dedicated to making sure you’re treated fairly by your insurance company.
Contact us today at (866) 231-0914 to learn how we can help you fight your insurance denial.