If your home has been damaged in a fire or storm, the coverage you pay for through your homeowners insurance can help you restore your home. However, your insurer may wrongfully deny or minimize your claim, and then you should turn to a lawyer who focuses on these kinds of cases.
When you pay the premiums for homeowners insurance, you are buying the peace of mind knowing that you can afford home repairs in the event of a crisis. Most homeowners insurance policies cover a wide variety of damage that can occur in South Dakota, including wind, fire, lightning, hail, and even theft and vandalism. As a policyholder, you feel a sense of security in knowing that your insurance company will support you if one of these unfortunate events happens. However, if your insurer betrays this trust by refusing benefits or coverage that you have paid for, you must learn how to fight a denied home insurance claim with the help of a South Dakota property damage lawyer.
Understanding Homeowners Insurance Coverage
When you purchase homeowners insurance, you agree to pay regular premiums in exchange for the insurer paying for damages that are covered by your policy. Every company’s policies are somewhat unique, though, and their specific policy language, terms, and conditions can be the determining factors for how much you are paid for your claim. Coverage for some specific types of damage is only available through supplemental policies that policyholders may decline when they first sign up with their insurer. Examples of supplemental policies include coverage for earthquakes, floods, sewage system failures, and personal property damage.
While the homeowners insurance policies themselves can vary, some companies benefit themselves by taking in premiums and denying or minimizing as many claims as possible. Some insurance companies will look for any reason to deny a claim and ignore reasons to pay your claim, even when it is clear that the damage is within the scope of the policy’s coverage. This makes it valuable to investigate a denied home insurance claim with the assistance of a property damage lawyer in South Dakota who can determine whether you should take legal action.
Investigating Denied Insurance Claims
When your claim for homeowners insurance gets denied, you should be notified in a letter of the denial. The letter should include a reference to your insurance policy, as well as an explanation of why your claim was not covered. Sometimes this explanation is legitimate, such as when the damage was caused by something outside your policy’s coverage or if the coverage had expired. For example, if your home was damaged by surface water and you failed to purchase flood insurance, your claim may be rightfully denied. However, if the reason for the claim denial does not line up with your policy language or you are not given a reason, you may need to fight the denied claim in court.
Fighting Improper Insurance Claims Practices
Insurance bad faith is a term used to describe cases in which insurance companies fail to provide the coverage paid for by policyholders. Insurers have a legal duty to act in good faith and give you the money you are owed to rebuild your house if your claim is valid. That is part of the promise that you pay for every month when you pay premiums. If your insurance company has surprised you by denying a claim you think is covered by your policy, you can seek the help of a lawyer who has experience with reviewing letters, insurance policies, and claims that could indicate the insurance company did not act in good faith. Your lawyer may find that the reason for your denied homeowners insurance claim is a miscommunication about the damage to your home. A letter to the insurance adjuster may be able to resolve this miscommunication.
However, if it becomes clear that your claim falls within your homeowners insurance policy and the denial of your claim was no accident, your property damage lawyer can suggest particular solutions and help you pursue appropriate legal measures. It can take lengthy litigation to receive the money you deserve, but this fight is often worth it. Insurance bad faith is particularly common when the homeowners insurance claim is for somewhat small or comparatively minor damage that requires a relatively limited payout, often for less than $10,000. Trying to foot the bill yourself when you need a new roof that will cost $10,000 but your insurer only offers you $3,200 to resolve your claim can be very detrimental to your financial security and contrary to the exact reason people buy homeowners insurance. Without legal help, you can find yourself paying out of pocket for damages that should be covered by your insurer.
We are happy to look at claims on policies in which there is a difference between what you need to repair property damage and what the insurer is offering you, even if it is only a few thousand dollars. We know how important it is to restore your home and receive the coverage you were promised—coverage you paid to have. The chances are that if your insurer is chiseling away at your legitimate claim, they are probably doing it to other policyholders, too.
For advice on how to fight a denied home insurance claim in South Dakota, contact the Turbak Law Office at 605-886-8361 for a free consultation with an experienced property damage lawyer.