Policyholders count on their homeowners insurance being there if disaster strikes. Unexpected damages to a home can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.
But what happens if a homeowners’ insurer denies a claim?
Disputing a denied claim
If an insurance company denies a claim, the policyholder can appeal the decision and provide extra documentation to support their claim.
When denying a claim, an insurance company must explain in writing the reason for the denial. The explanation provided by the insurer may indicate what additional documentation is needed or what legal basis the insurer alleges for denying the claim.
After denying a claim, an insurance company ordinarily must consider any new evidence or documentation submitted by a policyholder or the policyholder’s attorney.
It is common to submit photographs or professional assessments to support a claim. Estimates of costs to repair can also be helpful.
A claims examiner at the insurance company is usually responsible for reviewing claims, including any new documentation submitted following a denial. Policyholders or their attorney often can ask to escalate a denied claim to a more senior examiner or manager at the insurance company.
If an insurance company persists in refusing to honor a claim, a policyholder can bring a lawsuit against the insurer.
In the lawsuit, the policyholder must prove that any damages or costs are covered by the insurance policy. Documentation of damages and communications with an insurance company are often helpful evidence in proving a claim in court.
In some cases, a policyholder can recover additional damages if the insurance company acted in bad faith or failed to comply with California laws governing how to review and respond to insurance claims.
If you are facing a denied homeowners insurance claim, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and assist with identifying documentation that may support your claim.
If necessary, an attorney can also bring a lawsuit to hold the insurer responsible for damages covered under an insurance policy.