Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster can break even the toughest of us. Even worse is when you find out that your insurance claim has been denied and you’re left empty handed.
Filing a home insurance claim is often a pretty straightforward process. But while most claims get approved, a few claims are rejected every now and then.
Why Was Your Home Insurance Claim Denied?
There are many reasons insurers deny a claim. The good news is: many of them can be avoided easily. Here are some of the common reasons why your home insurance claim could get declined:
1. Lack of Cover
Home insurance can protect you from many things, but it does not cover every type of damage. Standard home insurance typically covers damages caused by fire, lightning, and wind, but there are plenty of exclusions to the policy.
Perils like flood and earthquake require separate insurance, while mold and water backup damages are not covered unless you pay extra premium to add them to your policy. If the cause of damage is excluded from your policy’s list of covered events, then you can expect for your claim to be denied.
2. Missing the Filing Deadline
There are time sensitive requirements for filing and documenting home insurance claims. No matter how valid your claim is, you can have it denied if you miss the filing window, which is normally within 180 days to a year depending on your policy.
If your home sustains damage from a covered peril, notify your insurance company and start the claims process as soon as possible to avoid any chances of having your claim denied because you failed to file on time.
3. Non-payment of Premiums
Missing payments on your home insurance or paying your premiums late is actually riskier than you think. Non-payment of premiums can cause your policy to lapse. If this happens and your home gets damaged, your insurance provider may be able to deny your claim.
Keep up with your home insurance payments to avoid losing coverage when you need it the most. Also, having plenty of missed or late payments on your record can damage your credit rating and lead to more expensive premiums in the future.
4. Non-disclosure of Facts
Lying about the nature and scope of the damage is, perhaps, the worst mistake you can make when filing for a home insurance claim. After a disaster, the insurance company will send their own adjusters to your home to check the damage. If they find out that you have not been entirely truthful or put down inaccurate information on your claims form, you’re likely to see your claim rejected.
Never give misleading information or try to hide previous claims just for the sake of maintaining your no-claims discount. Be as detailed and accurate as possible because your insurer will find out the truth and get to the bottom of things either way
5. Insufficient Documentation of the Damage
As a property owner, it’s your responsibility to prove the validity of your claim to the insurance company – not the other way around. Insurance adjusters will need as much information as possible to pay your claim. Make sure you document the damage or aftermath of the disaster in detail to help prove your case.
If you fail to deliver enough proof (documents, photos, videos, etc.) or satisfy the adjusters, your insurance provider may reject your claim.
6. Wear and Tear/Lack of Due Care
Homes are built to last a long time, but the years can eventually take their toll. Without proper care, things will start to look bad.
Almost all homeowners insurance policies stipulate that the property should be well-maintained and kept in good condition. If the insurer finds that the damage was caused by wear and tear or some form of negligence on your part has led to the incident that triggered the claim, your claim is likely to be denied.
Before Filing A Home Insurance Claim…
Home insurance claims can be tricky and time consuming for those who are not familiar with the process; even more so if you’re dealing with cases where there’s more at stake or higher chance for dispute.
Once an insurance company denies you claim, it’s unlikely for them to change their position unless you have new evidence to challenge it. This is why it’s highly recommended to speak with an experienced insurance claim attorney first before opening a claim. Also, insurers are less likely to deny a valid claim when there’s a lawyer involved.
If you’ve already had your claim denied, an attorney can still help investigate the case from all sides and see if there’s a chance of getting your insurance provider to reverse their position.
About the Author:
Rachael Harper is the Content Marketing Strategist of Bennett & Porter, a wealth management and insurance firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona. When not writing, she makes use of her time reading books and playing bowling with her family and friends.