If you’ve filed a homeowner’s insurance claim and believe your insurer has improperly denied you or offered an unreasonably low payment, you still have options. In general, your strategy should be to present additional evidence for your case and escalate the dispute in steps, but only to the point where the costs of doing so are outweighed by the potential benefit.
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These are the steps you can take if you find yourself in this situation:
Reading: How to fight insurance claims
Step 1: Contact your insurance agent or company again
Before you contact your insurance agent or homeowners insurance company to dispute a claim, you should review the claim you initially filed. consider whether there is any way to improve the quality of evidence showing damage or loss, which may have a significant impact on the settlement.
After reviewing your initial claim paperwork, call and talk to your agent or the company’s claims department about the estimate you received from the adjuster. Remember that an adjuster from the company calculated the estimate, not your agent or the person you will speak with.
Ask if your claim can be reviewed again based on your new evidence, or if the adjuster can re-examine the damaged or lost property. Errors do occur, and it is possible that the adjuster miscalculated the estimate. the company might review it again, but that doesn’t mean the settlement offer will change. they may not even agree to let another adjuster assess your damage or loss. if that’s the case, the next step is to get an appraisal from a third party.
Step 2: Consider an Independent Appraisal
Hiring your own public insurance adjuster or adjuster allows you to get an independent estimate of the damage you’re trying to repair. Depending on how far away they are from your home, a private appraiser or adjuster costs about $200 to $500. if the discrepancy in the claim settlement is approximately equal to the cost of the independent appraisal, it may be more cost-effective to accept the settlement.
Step 3: File a Complaint and Hire a Lawyer
Claim disputes rarely reach this stage. If you are unable to settle a claim with your home insurance company and have exhausted all of the above options, there are only two other things you can do: file a state complaint and seek legal remedy through of a lawyer.
The state insurance department may suggest that you hire an attorney, but it will not help pay for that expense. this makes it important to weigh the potential costs and benefits of legal action. You will need to find an attorney, pay a consultation fee, and any additional fees they charge. If you decide to hire an attorney, make sure there is a fee structure in place.
note on disputing natural disaster claims
Most insurers handle natural disaster claims the same way they handle any other claim: as quickly and accurately as possible. however, disasters often lead to a large wave of simultaneous claims, which can make it difficult for insurers to respond in a timely manner.
For this reason, state insurance departments often set special dates for insurance companies to acknowledge that a claim has been filed. Companies generally have 15 days to acknowledge that they have received a claim, but that is usually extended.
A higher volume of claims could also force insurance adjusters to make rough estimates on a case-by-case basis. if this occurs, the policyholder should be notified and expect a second visit from an adjuster at a later date. make the second date during the first if you can.