WHAT CAN I DO IF MY HOMEOWNERS CLAIM WAS DENIED?
Whether you choose to pay for a homeowners insurance policy on your own or because your lender requires that you have one, you count on it to pay up when you need it. That is, after all, what it is supposed to do.
There are no "what ifs” if you fail to pay the premium. The insurance company will terminate your policy. It seems unfair that policyholders should have to think, “What if my insurance company doesn’t pay a claim?” Denial of a claim can cause homeowners more than stress and anxiety. In some cases, it can lead to financial ruin.
For more than 30 years, Arnett & Arnett, PC has helped clients in Chandler, Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, and throughout Arizona litigate claims against insurance companies when insurers have dealt with them in bad faith. We have no fear of insurance companies and their attorneys. What we do have is compassion for those whose claims are denied when they need coverage the most.
What Reasons Do Insurance Companies Use to Deny Homeowners Claims?
Homeowners file claims against their policies for many reasons, including damage from fires and natural disasters, sewage and waterline failures, theft and vandalism, and for injuries sustained by someone else while on their property. Any of these claims can be relatively minor or financially devastating.
Insurance companies are motivated by profits and profits are generated by accepting premiums while denying claims. Therefore, insurance companies will look for ways to deny the claims of their insureds. Seven common reasons for denials are:
The homeowners insurance policy does not cover the damage in the claim or specifically excludes coverage;
The damage happened prior to the policy going into effect or after the policy lapsed;
The claim was not filed in a timely manner;
There is insufficient evidence for the claim;
The homeowner is rarely in the home to maintain and safeguard it and does not have anyone else doing so in their stead;
The insured did not meet a condition required by the policy, such as keeping your home properly maintained; and,
The insurance company contends that the claim is fraudulent.
What Should I Do If My Insurance Company Denied My Claim?
The first thing you should do if your homeowners claim is denied is review your policy to see whether the reason the company gives you for denying the claim appears valid. Then, contact your insurance company to find out if they need more information, documentation, or photos to support the claim. Once you submit additional or revised information, ask that the claim be reviewed again.
If the insurer continues to deny the claim, request an independent review by a public insurance adjuster. Unlike the adjuster who works for your insurance company, the public adjuster will work for you. The public adjuster will examine your policy, the evidence of the claim, and work to get the insurance company to pay you.
Whether you hire a public adjuster or not, you can retain the services of an insurance attorney to help. Working with experienced insurance attorneys signifies to your insurer that you will not accept its denial without due process.
How Can I Appeal a Denial?
Your attorney will guide you through the process of appealing the homeowners claim denial by reviewing the policy, documenting evidence, and submitting a formal appeal to the insurance company requesting another review. If the insurance company denies the appeal, your attorney will prepare a case for bad faith litigation in court. In addition, your attorney will help you file a formal complaint with the Arizona Department of Insurance which is charged with investigating allegations of bad faith.
Experienced Legal Guidance You Can Rely On
This may be the first time your insurer has denied your homeowners claim, but it is not the first time Arnett & Arnett, PC has represented a homeowner like you when insurers operate in bad faith. We have been doing so for more than 30 years.
If you live in Chandler or anywhere in Arizona, call our office to schedule a free case consultation. You can count on our experience, compassion, and tenacity. Call today.