How can I appeal a denial of a claim on my homeowner's insurance coverage?
Your homeowner’s insurance company typically has a set amount of time in which to approve your deny your claim for losses and/or damages. In the case of major or widespread natural disasters, however, your insurance company may receive an extension of this period of time.
If your claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy is denied, you have the right to dispute the denial. Your insurance policy and/or state’s law may set forth specific timeframes in order to dispute the denial of claims; you should make yourself aware of these deadlines, either by reading your insurance policy or contacting a lawyer for assistance.
Be sure to get your insurance company’s denial of your claim in writing, complete with a written explanation as to the denial. Look at your insurance policy and compare the denial reasons to the policy language. If something doesn’t seem right, point this out to your insurance company in writing, making specific reference to the parts of the insurance policy that conflict with the reasons given for the denial of your claim.
You should always appeal or dispute the denial of your insurance claim in writing, taking care to give your name, the date of your loss, the number of your homeowner’s insurance policy, and a very specific, detailed explanation as to why you believe that your claim should be approved as requested. You should suggest remedies based on the type of dispute that you have with your insurance company, as well as any rights that you have under your particular homeowner’s insurance policy. For instance, if you feel that your insurance company is not willing to give you full value for your losses or damages as specified in your insurance policy, you might suggest that additional appraisals or evaluations of the value of the affected items take place in order to more fairly assess their value. Many homeowner’s insurance policies provide for appraisals of lost or damaged items at the homeowner’s request, under certain circumstances.
Don’t forget to keep copies of all letters that you send and receive to or from the insurance company regarding your claim. If you talk to insurance company representatives, note the date, time, the name of the person to whom you were speaking, as well as the substance of the conversation. You need to be able to reference these conversations in the future if needed.
If you properly dispute and/or appeal the denial of a claim to your homeowner’s insurance, and you are still unable to resolve the issue, you may want to consider contacting a lawyer experienced in insurance issues for assistance. Depending on your state’s insurance laws, you may have to resolve your insurance dispute by filing a complaint in court, or you may have the option to participate in arbitration or mediation, which is a more informal process of resolving disputes. Additionally, all states have departments or offices that specifically deal with insurance matters; many states have dispute resolution processes in place to deal with complaints about an insurance company’s denial of claims and/or coverage.
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