Filing Homeowners Insurance Claims (Without Letting The Company Scam You)Storms have destroyed thousands of homes this year and many have filed homeowners insurance claims for help in rebuilding. Unfortunately, the insurance companies mercilessly deny claims for untenable reasons – 30% of the time, according to statistics. Insurers are notorious for scamming their clients with denials. A rejected claim is no reason to give up, though. It is possible to reverse these decisions.
Never meekly accept a rejectionOnly 1% of disappointed claimants challenge their denials. Of those who fight back, 50% win. If your claim contains no exaggerations, you can win. You should even challenge accepted claims and ask for even more. You have good chances of winning.
Maintain detailed evidenceMany homeowners’ insurance claims are answered over the telephone – with no written record. You must always insist that the insurance company give you a comprehensive printed reply to your claim, with explanations. Some states even require written explanations. With one of these in hand, you are better able to study their explanations for discrepancies. Often, there denials depend on personal interpretations of the rules by a low level claims officer. Challenging these can bring results.
Mistakes in the claims processEvery insurer has a filing or claims process. Their rules may impose a time window for filing, for instance. Violate this rule and they summarily dump your claim. Fortunately, denials for procedural violations are illegal in many jurisdictions. The company can only deny for such violations if they can prove that they are harmed by them. If they prove that a delayed filing prevents them from investigating properly, their denial could hold. When in doubt, you could call the U.S. State Insurance Department (or the Insurance Ombudsman in England).
Hire an agentInsurance claims agents are to insurance claims what lawyers are to lawsuits. With their expertise, they help you navigate the system. Most people are unaware that such agents exist. They go by different names. In America, they are called Professional Loss Consultants. You will find them in the Yellow Pages. They charge about 10% of the insurance company’s award. Since these agents get you larger awards, they are worth their commission. You could go to one even after the insurer has denied your claim once.
The good agents charge an upfront fee as well as a commission when the award arrives. The dodgy ones offer no-win no-fee deals. Attractive as these may be, they charge you massive percentages. You get less money in the end.