It’s a safe haven. It’s where you can unwind at the end of a long day. It’s where the heart is.

It’s home.

But suddenly, the oasis that you’ve worked hard to own is ravaged by a hail storm, or hurricane, or freeze. Then, your insurance company decides that there wasn’t that much damage caused by that storm, and they’re not going to cover the gaping hole in your roof because it was caused by “wear and tear”— who knew that simply having a roof was a pre-existing condition? You thought that was the point of having homeowner’s insurance, right?

You’re absolutely right. But often, insurance companies hire insurance adjusters that will low-ball the estimate of repairs just so they can deny a claim. So, how do you fight back?

  1. Review your policy.Before you go any farther, you’ll want to educate yourself and make sure that the policy does include the type of damage your home received. This step should be done before you file a claim if you’re unsure of your coverage, but after the denial works, too. If your copy of your policy was destroyed in the incident, your insurance company can provide another.
  2. Collect your facts. When you’re looking to refute a denial, you’ll want to ensure you have all of the information you need so that you’re as prepared as possible. Thousands of dollars could be at stake.
    –  Know the facts of the event itself — dates, extent of damage, parties involved, and steps you took to prevent the incident are vital.
    –  Photograph the damages.
    –  Gather records of steps you took and purchases you made to protect your home, such as maintenance (before and after the incident), repair or home fire safety alarms.
    –  Record and document all conversations you’ve had with your insurance company.
    –  Find witnesses who may be willing to speak on your behalf.
    –  Show any and all evidence that you’re a responsible homeowner and not negligent.
    –  And if you have had a prior claim on your house, make sure you can provide proof that it has been fully repaired; we weren’t joking about pre-existing conditions.
  3. Hire a public adjuster.Don’t take your insurance company’s word for it. Hire a public adjuster to come evaluate the damage to your property. Often, you’ll find their estimates of damages much higher than the insurance company’s adjuster.
  4. Get help.Whether you need assistance with filing an appeal, or you’re ready to take legal action, an insurance attorney is your best chance at getting the payment you deserve for being a dutiful homeowner. Let them handle the footwork, the legalese and the arguing on your behalf, so that you can get the protection you’re owed. 

 

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com July 7, 2016

 

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