How to Beat Denied Insurance Claims

Posted December 10th, 2009
by Staff (no comments)

CantBeBeatOne of the most frustrating things about homeowners insurance is that it just doesn’t, and can’t, cover every possible contingency. There are all sorts of problems – from the Chinese drywall issue that’s been in the news so often lately to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina – that your homeowners insurance company may use to try to deny a claim.

Fortunately, you have recourse. There are some specific things you can do to maximize your chances of success and try to get the company to honor your claim:

  1. Don’t assume a denial is the final answer. Most people don’t even follow up on a denied claim. Yet, more than half of people that do follow up actually get results. Following up dramatically increases the odds the company will cover your claim. The worst that can happen is that they’ll say “no,” which they’ve already done anyways.
  2. Get everything in writing. Insist that the insurance company do a review of the case. Ask for a comprehensive, written explanation as to why your claim was denied. In some places, it is even required by law that the company provide you with written reasons why the claim was denied.
  3. Double-check your policy. Look for anything in the denial that doesn’t seem to mesh with the policy. Follow up by querying the company in writing, quoting the policy as necessary.
  4. Watch for process errors. There is a process that the insurer has to follow, and sometimes the insurer may deny a claim based on a form that wasn’t filled out correctly or didn’t happen within a certain amount of time. In most places, a company can’t refuse to pay a valid claim because of such process errors.
  5. Talk to an agent. In some cases, your local insurance agent may be able to help you advocate with the insurance company. It can’t hurt to try.
  6. Consider an attorney. An insurance company will often pay more attention once a lawyer is brought in. On the other hand, using an attorney can be time consuming and costly.
  7. Be persistent. The squeaky wheel really does get the grease. Contact the insurance company on a regular basis. Be polite and persistent. If you don’t get the response you want, keep asking to talk to the next level up. Keep a record of all of your phone calls, including date, time, and the name of the representative you spoke with.
Categories: Advice

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