You purchase homeowners insurance to protect one of life’s biggest investments. You expect that should you ever need to file a home insurance claim, you’re safe. Reasonably, when the home is damaged or destroyed, you expect to be covered. In many cases, however, the insurer will deny the claim. And while the denial may be justified based on the policy terms, yours may not be. You can be sure that your insurance provider will look for any possible reason to reject your claim. It’s important to have a knowledgeable property damage insurance attorney review your loss. This is where Rosenbaum & Taylor comes in.
Here are a few of the most common reasons for home insurance claim denials:
The damage is not covered
Policies go into great detail to explain what is and what is not covered by insurance. Standard homeowners insurance policies cover fire, lightning, and wind damage. But there are plenty of exclusions in these and other categories. Whether a particular set of facts meets the terms of an exclusion is often a source of contention.
You should also be aware that many types of damage, such as mold and water, require additional premiums. If you don’t have this extra coverage, the insurer may deny your claim.
Failure to pay your premiums
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to pay your insurance premiums on time. Missing a payment can cause your policy to lapse, which presents a serious risk to your property. If damage occurs to your property during a policy lapse, it won’t be covered by your policy.
Most insurers allow a grace period, but it’s not wise to use this if you don’t need to. Therefore, make sure you get proof of payment each time you pay your premium. You should also be cautious if your premium payments are set on automatic bill pay. The bank could mess up a payment and leave you without coverage.
Filing a claim too late
You only have a certain amount of time after a covered loss to file with your insurer. Fortunately, the amount of time is generally significant: up to 180 days in many cases. Still, many homeowners neglect to take immediate action to file a claim. Then the deadline passes and it’s too late.
Understand the filing requirements set forth in your policy. Make sure you document each step you take, and when. Follow up with the insurance company as well to ensure everything required to be submitted was received. Taking these steps will help avoid a late claim.
Not disclosing material facts
It’s never a good idea to misrepresent the nature of the property damage to your insurer. Most policyholders know this, and will take steps to document the damage. But failure to disclose certain facts about the property itself can get you in trouble as well. At the time you obtained your homeowners insurance, you were asked detailed questions about the property. If you made material misrepresentations that are discovered later, your claim can be denied.
Failure to document the loss
As mentioned above, making misrepresentations about the home insurance loss could forfeit your claim. A related issue is failure to sufficiently document the incident in question. After suffering a property loss, start making a record of it immediately. Take photos, record video, and write down as many notes as you can. Pay attention to time, date, and location on the property.
Insurance companies are entitled to know a great deal of detail before paying on a claim. Do them and yourself a favor and provide as much information as you can.
Helping Policyholders Receive Fair Treatment From Their Insurers
While insurance companies have plenty of legitimate reasons to deny home insurance claims, they don’t always. The facts will determine whether there was a basis for one of the above or another reason. If you and your insurer don’t agree on a claim denial, it’s time to speak with a property damage attorney. Reach out to Rosenbaum & Taylor today.