If your home suffered serious damage, at least you have the peace of mind knowing your homeowner’s insurance can relieve you of financial stress. But if your claim settlement offer is lower than what you anticipated, or your claim is denied entirely, it can be just as devastating as the damage itself.
However, you have an opportunity to dispute the insurer’s decision. Remember, insurance companies are only looking out for their own best interests, which means paying the policyholders as little as possible—or not at all.
The following are the proper steps you should take to dispute a home insurance claim denial or settlement offer:
- Review your coverage and claim – Before contacting your insurer, review your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure the damage is covered and understand the dollar limits of the coverage. Being aware of what you’re entitled to under your policy will strengthen your argument. Then, you should review the claim you initially filed and consider any way you can make improvements, such as including more evidence like pictures, receipts of replaced items, or estimated repairs
- Contact your insurance agent or company – Once you evaluate the initial paperwork of your claim, call your agent or insurer’s claims department and ask about the claim you received from the adjuster. Be respectful and listen, then follow any instructions related to your claim dispute. Ask if they can review your claim once again based on new evidence, or if it is possible for the company to reassess the damaged or lost property by conducting another at-home visit. Miscalculations and mistakes often occur. Although the company might review your claim once more, it doesn’t mean the offer will change.
- File a complaint – If you are still unable to obtain a reasonable offer, you can file a complaint with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation—only if you are a victim of mistreatment and bad faith. The agency should investigate your claim and determine your available options to obtain a fair resolution.
- Hire a lawyer – In many instances, having an experienced attorney on your side can make a difference. Your lawyer can review and handle your paperwork, negotiate with your insurer, and protect your rights and best interests in order to obtain a reasonable settlement offer.