Filing a Home Insurance Claim
After suffering damage to your home due to a flood, fire, vandalism, theft, or another unfortunate home incident, filing a claim against your home insurance policy can help recover compensation to cover repairs and other losses. It is important that you get started with your home insurance claim as soon as possible. Here's how to proceed with filing a home insurance claim:
- File a Police Report: If the home incident or damage involved vandalism or theft, you need to report to the police department or local authorities.
- Notify Your Insurer: Most insurance providers expect policyholders to notify them immediately after any damage, injury, or theft. Ensure that you inform your homeowners’ insurance company about the incident as soon as you can.
- Take Photos: Take detailed photos and video recordings of the damaged areas. This will serve as evidence during the claims process.
- Make Necessary Repairs: Make any reasonable urgent repairs that are required to mitigate further damage or improve your home's safety.
- Documentation: Document all damages, obtain copies of any police reports, photos, video evidence, document stolen items, and other specifics that will be required in your claims.
- Hire an Attorney: Hire an experienced law firm to help negotiate with the insurance company, appeal the denied claim, or otherwise file a lawsuit.
Common Reasons Claims Are Denied
Some of the most common reasons why homeowners claims get denied include:
- Insufficient information or documentation
- Delaying or waiting too long before filing
- Late premium payments
- Claim types not covered in your home insurance policy
- Threat of fraud
- Damage is less than the deductible
- Damage from wear and tear, such as evidence of poor maintenance
- Damage occurred due to the fault of another party, such as a contractor's negligence
Time Limit for Filing a Claim
In the state of Arizona, the time limit for filing a claim is two years from the date you experienced bad faith practices from your homeowners’ insurance provider.
Appealing a Decision
If your home insurance claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Below are the steps to appeal a denied claim:
- Understand what your homeowners’ policy covers
- Understand why your insurance claim was denied
- Carefully document and record all of your losses thoroughly
- Seek a fair estimate for a second opinion
- Prove that you're a responsible homeowner and you didn't cause harm or damage to your property
- Hire an attorney to help you appeal the decision
If you are denied again, you can file a complaint with the state insurance board to investigate the denied claim.
Bad Faith Practices by Insurance Companies
Bad faith practices involve any unethical, unfair, or dishonest tactics used by insurance providers to deny, delay, or undervalue payments of home insurance claims. Below are some common bad faith practices by insurance companies:
- Low-ball first settlement offer
- Denying a claim without giving a reason
- Refusing to pay a valid claim
- Lengthy or unnecessary delays
- Legal misrepresentation
- Failure to conduct a thorough investigation
- Unreasonable requirements
- Increasing insurance premiums
- Altering the terms of the policy
- Undervaluing claims
- Lack of communication
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company denies your appeal, taking appropriate legal action against the insurer may be the next option. An experienced lawyer can help file a lawsuit and attempt to pursue the full amount of compensation available under your homeowners’ policy.
Work with Experienced Home Insurance Claims Attorneys
Filing homeowner insurance claims and dealing with the insurance company after a disaster or damage to your home can involve several complexities. If the insurer has denied your valid claim or if you believe the insurance carrier is negotiating using bad faith tactics, you can have a lawyer intervene on your behalf. A knowledgeable home insurance claim attorney can evaluate your situation, advocate for your legal rights, and help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance provider.
At Arnett & Arnett, PC, we have the experience and resources to represent homeowners and policyholders in complex legal issues involving denied claims and bad faith practices of insurance companies. As your representation, we will review and investigate all the surrounding facts of your case and determine if your home insurance claims have been affected by bad faith insurance tactics.