How to Dispute a Homeowners' Insurance Claim

Know the options for a homeowners' insurance claim denial.

Know the options for a homeowners' insurance claim denial.

When a homeowners' insurance claim is denied, the policyholder has a right to know why. The insurance company’s decision need not be accepted as the final word. You have the right to appeal the denial, both through the insurance provider's appeal process and in a court of law.

Read your insurance policy carefully, making sure you are clear on its coverage and limits.

Gather information that substantiates the dollar amount of your loss, such as repair bills and estimates.

Review the written denial you received from the insurance provider. Note any discrepancies between your policy information and the denial information.

Call the insurance provider and ask to speak with the adjuster assigned to your claim. Make written notes of the time, date and people you speak with during the call. Ask the adjuster to explain the exact reasons for rejecting the claim, then have him provide you with written documentation backing up the phone conversation information. Request a second review. Ask to speak to the supervisor if you are not getting the information you need from the adjuster.

Submit your appeal in writing, if requested by the insurance provider. Include your name, policy number, date of loss and a full explanation supporting why you believe the claim warrants approval. Check your policy to verify how much time the insurance company has respond to your appeal.

Maintain a chronological account of the times, dates and names of insurance company contacts while working on the dispute. Keep copies of all correspondence sent to or received from the insurance provider.

Take further action if you have not received satisfaction from your contact with the insurance provider. Check to see if your policy provides an arbitration process. Moving forward with the arbitration process is your right, though you might incur costs. You and the provider would each hire your own appraiser and one neutral, third independent appraiser to act as a mediator. A mutual decision by any two of the appraisers is binding.

File a written complaint with your state's Department of Insurance if your claim dispute cannot be resolved. The responsibility of the Department of Insurance is to oversee the operations of insurance providers in the state. Consult with an insurance litigation attorney.

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