The Lousiana Department of Insurance receives more than 3,600 complaints against insurance companies every year.
Insurance companies think they can get away with refusing to pay claims. This is not the case.
If your home insurance is refusing to pay to repair your house, you have options. Keep reading to learn what to do if your insurance company won’t pay your property damage claim.
Ask for Your Claim to be Reconsidered
When insurance companies offer settlements for property damage, they try to get away with paying as little as possible. After all, they are a business that is ultimately trying to protect their own interests.
But as a homeowner, you expect to be reimbursed fairly for your losses. Your insurance company has a responsibility to make you whole again.
The first thing you should do if your insurance company isn’t offering enough to cover the full amount of your damages or help you make the necessary repairs is contact them directly. Insurance companies are notorious for making an initial lowball offer, hoping you will accept it and go away.
When a natural disaster like a hurricane strikes, insurance companies are overwhelmed with claims. Adjusters try to close claims as quickly as possible and often don’t have the time to give your claim the attention it deserves. Simply asking that the adjuster take a second look at your claim costs you nothing and might be all it takes.
Oftentimes, claims that are disputed are reviewed by management, who may have a more favorable opinion of the value of your claim.
When you contact your agent or insurance company, keep in mind that the person you are speaking to likely didn’t calculate the estimate themselves. Insurance companies use outside adjusters to inspect damaged property. Your point of contact at the insurance company may be more of a messenger and your settlement offer is based on that estimate.
Sometimes adjusters get it wrong, especially when they are overworked and short-staffed. When you contact your insurance company, ask them to have the adjuster take a second look or get a second opinion from another adjuster.
Collect Additional Evidence
The key to negotiating a better settlement offer is the evidence you can present.
First, you should review your initial claim filing and take a look at the evidence you submitted showing the damage or loss. If you can improve the quality of your evidence, you may be offered a higher settlement. If you have any evidence that you haven’t already submitted, it’s not too late.
Evidence in the form of receipts, repair estimates, videos, and photos can help prove your case. If you can provide better photos or videos than you initially submitted, the insurance company may reconsider its offer.
Hire Your Own Adjuster
If you don’t have any luck asking your insurance company to take a second look, your next step is the have an independent appraisal done. When you hire your own appraiser, usually a public adjuster, you get a fresh set of eyes and an estimate from a third party with no bias.
The cost of hiring a private appraiser or public adjuster depends on where you live and how far they have to drive. You can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $500.
Be sure to consider whether the cost of hiring someone is worth it in the long run. If the amount in dispute with the insurance company is less than the cost of hiring an appraiser, it might not be cost-effective.
Hiring a third party will either confirm that the insurance company’s estimate is fair or provide evidence for your case. If the new appraisal proves that you should be offered a higher settlement, send it to your insurance company and ask to speak to a claims manager.
Hire an Attorney
If all else’s fails and your insurance company still refuses to pay, the next step is to hire an insurance claim attorney.
As a policyholder, you have the right to report your insurance company for acting in bad faith. If you believe you are being mistreated as an insured, you can file a complaint with the state insurance department. They will conduct an investigation and help you with the next steps.
If they believe you have a case, they will reach out to your insurance company on your behalf.
At this stage, it is recommended that you hire an attorney. If you find yourself in this situation, you don’t have to pay your attorney upfront. Instead, you’ll get a free consultation where your attorney will advise you about your case and the legal process.
You will only have to pay your attorney if they win an additional settlement for you. Many home insurance policies have a clause that requires insurance companies to pay your attorneys fees if they are found to be in bad faith. They might even be subjected to penalties that can be used to pay your attorney.
The bottom line is that hiring an attorney is the best action to take when your insurance company won’t budge and your home is in need of repairs.
Is Your Home Owners Insurance Refusing to Pay?
If your home was damaged in the recent storms and your home insurance company is refusing to pay for your repairs, you have rights. Your insurance company has to make you whole for your damages.
Show them you mean business by hiring an insurance claim attorney who specializes in hurricane claims today.
Click here to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about how we can help restore your home.