If you’ve suffered damage to your home as the result of an accident or disaster, you may assume that your home insurance policy will take care of the repair or replacement of any damaged property. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and many people find themselves confused about what to do next when their home insurance claim has been rejected. Here are a few things you can do if your home insurance claim has been rejected.
Always read the policy
There’s a good chance that home insurance providers will reject your claim, at least at first. While it can be frustrating and time-consuming to fight your insurer, reading through your policy closely helps you ensure you’re making an educated claim. After all, most of us don’t think about our policies until something happens. If you know what your policy covers up front, you can focus on fighting for those benefits—and not wasting time arguing over what wasn’t covered in the first place. You might also learn something about how a specific problem could affect coverage or prove costly for future claims. For example, if you were hit by lightning while using your home phone during a storm, there’s a good chance that won’t be covered under your homeowner’s policy. But if you read through your policy before filing a claim, you would have known ahead of time. And then maybe you wouldn’t have been talking on the phone during a storm!
Appeal if you’re denied
The final step, if your claim was denied, is to appeal. Sometimes you’ll discover that what you thought was a homeowner’s insurance claim being rejected isn’t actually a rejection at all—the company needs more information or clarification before making a decision. A denial does not mean your claim won’t be covered; it just means there are additional details still needed. It might be an easy fix or it might take some time and research on your part, but getting it sorted out in communication with your insurance company will always result in a happy ending. In fact, most people who appealed their home insurance claim were able to get their insurer to reverse its decision. Be sure to keep detailed records of your correspondence with them and ask for confirmation when they agree to reconsider your request. Also keep copies of any forms or paperwork they send you so you can reference them later if necessary. Keep track of all phone calls, emails, texts and meetings so that when it comes time for follow-up (which is almost guaranteed), you have concrete evidence showing exactly how much effort has been put into resolving things.
They may also ask for a sample of any damage: If so, give them one along with photos taken before repairs were made so they can make sure everything matches up as promised by contractors.
Discuss with an expert
If you get home insurance claim rejected and want to know what you can do about it, ask an expert in home insurance claims. They’ll be able to provide guidance on how best deal with your situation, whether you should make a formal appeal or try another approach. If there’s a dispute between you and your provider over money, in particular, make sure that there’s no confusion about who was insured and for what; if someone else at fault for damage caused by their negligence, include that information in your claim; be sure that all relevant security details are recorded properly too (i.e., home alarm system). These things will help ensure things move forward as smoothly as possible. Don’t let anyone rush you into accepting anything before you’re satisfied. You may also want to check out online reviews of various companies and see which one offers top customer service. Customer service matters even when submitting a claim because even small issues can turn into big problems if not handled properly from start to finish. In fact, some people have been known to change insurers after having a bad experience with customer service during a claim process—and they didn’t even have any prior problems! So don’t settle for anything less than top-notch care throughout your home insurance claims process. Also remember that being assertive is OK—you’re protecting yourself and your property after all!
Look at these common claims
In addition to fire damage, there are plenty of other reasons your insurance claim could be rejected. Depending on your policy and insurer, here are a few common examples: lightning strikes; theft or burglary; water damage from a burst pipe; car damage from a collision in your driveway (if you live in an HOA community); flooding if you don’t have flood insurance; animal infestation or disease (it depends on your specific plan); failure to maintain landscaping, such as letting ivy grow over your house and cause mold; damages caused by an earthquake (unless it’s covered by separate earthquake insurance). Some insurers won’t cover floods resulting from tornadoes, hurricanes or typhoons—or any kind of flooding not caused by wind-driven rain.
How should you fix it?
First, you should take a closer look at your policy. You may have assumed that coverage for Acts of God meant you were protected from events like floods and fires—but most policies require some sort of negligence from you (or a family member) in order for claims to be paid out. Once you know what’s covered and what isn’t, come up with a game plan for dealing with your home insurance company. This includes figuring out if there are things you can do to mitigate future damage, such as raising your home off of flood-prone ground or upgrading smoke detectors so they’re less likely to go off during false alarms. Be careful not to put yourself into financial distress while making these changes, though; it’s important to weigh costs against benefits when deciding whether to make improvements. For example, buying a new alarm system might save you money on lower premiums over time but could also cost thousands upfront. If you’re unsure about how much it will cost or how much it will pay off in savings down the road, ask an expert before moving forward.