Insurance companies are meant to protect people and their property when accidents or disasters occur. People get insurance for property damage with the express purpose of ensuring that their belongings are protected. Unfortunately, these companies often deny claims for various reasons. If an insurance company denies coverage for property damage, the policyholder has the right to appeal the decision. This appeal must be done in a timely manner due to the fact that further actions can be taken if the appeal is denied. There are several steps a person should take after they’ve been denied coverage for property damage. Here are the steps that are essential if a person hopes to win their appeal:
Check the Policy
Going over their policy is possibly the most important step a person can take before filing an appeal. Many property owners find out that their insurance provider is justified in denying their claim after reviewing their policy, but this is definitely not always the case. The denial letter should be compared to the policy, and it is important for a person to notate anywhere in the policy they believe proves that they should receive compensation.
Gather all Relevant Documentation
The appeal process is basically like starting anew with an insurance claim. This means it is important to gather all relevant information pertaining to the claim. This can include pictures, police reports, and anything else that may relate to the issue. All of this documentation should be prepared to be presented to the insurer as if it was the first time a claim was being filed.
File the Appeal
There should be a specific section in every policy that explains the appeals process. If a person does not fully understand the information, they should contact the company to find out with whom they should handle the appeal. Many times these appeals can be as simple as the insured writing a letter that explains why they feel that their property damage should be covered and cites the specific instance in the policy that they feel justifies the claim.
The insurance company will have to review their denial decision with the information that the property owner has sent them. This shouldn’t take very long, and some states actually have deadlines that insurers must meet in responding to appeals. If the company still denies the claim even though the insured feels that they have a legitimate case, it is important for the policyholder to contact a property attorney.
Why Time is a Factor
The appeals process should be started as soon as a person knows that their claim has been denied. This is mostly important due to the legal time-frame that a person has to dispute their denial. Many policies will expressly state the amount of time that a person has to file their appeal, but some states actually have laws that standardize these deadlines for all insurance companies in the state. Once a person misses this deadline, they are simply out of luck. For this reason, contacting a lawyer from the start is often a good idea.
It is also important to start the appeal process quickly due to the fact that further action can be taken if the appeal is denied. A lawyer should definitely be contacted in this instance, and this may lead to an even bigger payday for the insured. Insurance companies are legally required to act in good faith to their policyholders; this means that the company must deal with their customers fairly. If a lawyer can prove that the insurance company violated this law, it is possible to sue the insurer for bad faith actions and recover far more than the original claim.
Property damage is a hassle regardless of whether or not an insurance company will pay to have the damage repaired. When these companies deny a claim, it can become a drawn out ordeal for the policyholder. Luckily, insured people in the United States have certain rights regarding insurance claims that cannot be taken away from them. Anyone who has a legitimate claim against an insurance company has no reason to not succeed in their appeal simply due to the protections that exist for them.
Chris Bennett is a legal researcher and freelance contributing author for the property attorney law firm of Doyle Raizner. Insurance claims can be confusing and stressful. Insurance companies employ hundreds of attorneys to ensure their protection and profitability. It is essential that you research and obtain adequate representation to ensure your rights are protected as well.